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Trip Planning [AAS]

From the Adventure Activity Standards for Bushwalking (June 2006) Recreation SA Inc pp14-15'''

In any adventurous activity, planning is essential in order to achieve objectives, have fun
and to minimise the inherent risks to participants. There are many recognised ways to
plan a bushwalking activity and AAS recognise that each group will approach this
differently. This section is intended to provide a framework for planning bushwalking
activities to minimise the risks to participants.

Considerations for developing an activity plan

Organising bodies and experienced leaders may be familiar with the many factors that
can influence the quality and the safety of a bushwalking trip. The following is a list of
such factors and should be addressed in any bushwalking activity plan.

Although recommended, it is not essential that the process of addressing these factors
be documented for all groups:
  • objectives of the trip (desired outcomes)
  • expected capabilities of participants:
    • age, experience, skill
    • fitness, disposition, known medical conditions
  • area and route selection:
    • availability and suitability of maps
    • land managers requirements (access restrictions, group sizes, permit
  • requirements, booking requirements)
    • availability of area specific information
    • ability of site to withstand visitation with minimal impact
    • terrain (route characteristics) and associated implications
    • remoteness and access
    • seasonal factors (snow, fire and availability of drinking water)
  • expected weather conditions and implications (hypothermia, hyperthermia)
  • group composition:
    • size of group
    • standard of care (education, commercial or community organisation)
    • supervision requirements (see 2.6)
  • equipment, food and clothing requirements:
    • availability of equipment for participants
    • available communication equipment
  • support/evacuation capabilities (vehicle, etc.)
    • response time for emergency rescue/retrieval may take minimum of 4 hours in remote areas
  • first aid requirements.
The leader selected to conduct or undertake a bushwalking trip:
  • must have the required skills and experience available to conduct the trip
  • should be suitably familiar with the area being visited (the level of familiarity will vary according to the objectives and circumstances surrounding the walk/group).
Reasons for cancelling, modifying or postponing a trip include (but are not limited to)
inappropriate weather conditions, insufficient equipment, restrictions dictated by the land
manager and environmental factors (flood, drought, fire).

Pre-trip documentation

There are many sound reasons for documenting certain aspects of the activity plan. This
may be for the safety of the group should the leader become injured or incapacitated, it
may allow search and rescue teams to conduct a more efficient search (where
necessary) or to assist with a legal defence following an incident.

Appropriate to the standard of care owed to the participants, the following should be
documented, carried on the walk and a copy made available to a non-participating
  • trip plan (at least from where to where, how long it should take and expected hazards)
  • emergency strategy (refer 1.4)
  • participants’ names, address and emergency contact details
  • any medical conditions of participants that is likely to affect performance (for example asthma (details of management plan required), diabetes, epilepsy,fainting/dizziness, specific allergic reactions, blood conditions which may effect bleeding/ blood clotting, conditions effecting balance, recent or long-standing injuries (e.g. back, knee, ankle), disability or other relevant medical conditions (e.g. pregnancy, repetitive strain injury (RSI) and any relevant medication)
  • acknowledgement of the inherent risks involved in the specific activity, signed by participants after a full explanation briefing
  • the signature of a parent/guardian for participants under the age of 18.
Throughout the trip, the leader must take reasonable steps to account for any known
specific participant medical requirements.

Risk management

The Australian/New Zealand Standard on Risk Management (AS/NZ 4360:1999) is an
established process for risk management, which describes risk management as ‘a
process consisting of well-defined steps which, taken in sequence, support better
decision making by contributing a greater insight into risks and their impacts.’
Appropriate to the walk being undertaken and the group involved, foreseeable risks
should be noted and strategies should be considered to avoid or minimise these risks.

This may be a part of the trip plan and should identify hazards such as unseasonal
snowfalls, rock scrambles and river crossings.
Some trips and organisations (such as clubs and commercial operators) have
established risk management guidelines, which should be referred to. It may be a
requirement of the organisation that this be formally documented.

Emergency strategy

An emergency strategy should be devised from the risk assessment to manage
foreseeable incidents and minimise their escalation.

Trip leader(s) and a non-participating contact, either within each organisation or
otherwise, should be made aware of the emergency strategy.

The emergency strategy for a bushwalking trip should be specific to each walk and will
  • emergency access and emergency escape routes (where possible)
  • emergency contact details for key organisations (land manager and police) and how they are best contacted (mobile phone, satellite phone, radio)
  • planned start and finish time of the walk
  • the emergency trigger time for the non-participating contact to inform emergency services (on failure of group to return/check-in)
  • specific communication being carried by group
  • strategies adopted peculiar to specific areas being visited (e.g. the rock scramble mentioned within 1.3).
The trip leader should communicate with the relevant non-participating contact at
designated time/s. Upon failure to do so the non-participating contact will commence the
planned process/strategy to ultimately notify the police according to that
process/strategy (trigger time).

Restriction to participation

Participants may be excluded from a trip (or a trip may be modified) at any time prior to
departure and at the leader’s discretion throughout the trip where possible. Such
participants can include (but are not limited to) those who may be under the influence of
alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs which may affect performance), those who
are unable or unwilling to follow instructions, those who lack suitable equipment, level of
fitness, physical ability and experience for the particular trip.

[Category:Risk Management]]
[Category:Adventure Activity Standards]