March 10th is Safety Day!

 

In early spring, the skydiving season for much of the country is just crawling out of hibernation. Most skydivers don’t jump through the cold months as often as they do in the summer, and their skills are a bit rusty. That’s when Safety Day comes. Established in 1997 from an idea by Patti Chernis, Safety Day provides a worldwide forum at local drop zones to prepare jumpers for the year ahead. Safety Day promotes safety programs and helps inform jumpers of new developments and review important information and procedures. Activities typically include hands-on review and practice of safety procedures, seminars from skydiving operation professionals and experts, equipment evaluations and more. Most days end with a social get together. USPA encourages all jumpers of all experience levels to attend.

Safety Day is typically held on the second Saturday in March; however, some drop zones hold it on alternate dates. USPA designated Saturday, March 10, 2012, as the 2012 Safety Day.
Planning Your DZ’s Next Safety Day
1. Announce to your jumpers that your DZ is hosting a Safety Day.
You may want to offer incentives to boost attendance. Many DZs offer free or discounted jump tickets, free food, discounted reserve pack jobs, door prizes, or any combination. And plan a party for afterward.
2. Select a suitable location.
Think comfort. If the hangar won’t be warm or large enough, consider a restaurant, school gym, motel, or veteran’s lodge. Anticipate a good turnout and be sure you have room for lectures, training-harness drills, and rig inspections.
3. Put a training syllabus and staff together.
Feel free to use the training ideas included here, which involve the four modules or stations below, with just some ideas on content.
Gear Check and Review— Have jumpers inspect their rigs with a rigger. Check closing loops and flaps, pilot chute snugness and condition, velcro, three-ring condition, RSL routing, AAD compliance with battery and factory check, etc.
Skydiving Emergency Review and Drills— Review all types of problems, reinforce altitude awareness, discuss disorientation, practice in a suspended harness.
Canopy Flight and Landing Patterns—Use aerial photos to show acceptable and unacceptable outs, review hazards, establish or review landing patterns, and discuss canopy handling toward preventing low-turn accidents.
Aircraft Procedures and Emergencies—Review exit order and loading procedures, seat belt and weight and balance concerns, spotting procedures, visibility minimums and cloud clearances, air traffic control requirements, and aircraft emergency scenarios.
4. Don’t forget the PR.
Give recognition to those who turn out and those who teach. Remember that many local news organizations may want to provide news coverage. Take pictures and send them with a brief write-up to Parachutist. And consider that the skydivers who don’t participate may need more of your staff’s attention when the season kicks in.

Like skydiving, Safety Day is also about fun. It certainly won’t be hard to encourage jumpers to get together at the end of the day’s activities for some mid-winter socializing. Make sure to include that in your Safety Day plan, too!

For more safety oriented topics, please visit the USPA Website!

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