Preparing for Safety Day
The Macarena, Tickle Me Elmo dolls and mullets were all fads from the ’90s that became extinct soon after introduction. When USPA announced that an event called Safety Day would take place for the first time on March 15, 1997, some jumpers believed that this was a concept destined to fade away as other fads would. Now, looking back over the 15 previous Safety Day events, this could not be further from the truth! Since the first Safety Day, USPA members have continued to flock to the annual event around the globe in huge numbers each year. Skydivers truly enjoy the day. And thanks to the clever minds of many USPA members, new games and useful resources continue to add value to the event. This year, Safety Day falls on March 10. (Some drop zones use a different date, so check with yours to verify.)
During the USPA Nationals at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, the drop zone posted this reminder to jumpers in the loading area. Photo by Chad Wilcox.
Safety Day provides a perfect opportunity for jumpers to brush up on the basics, as well as learn more about all aspects of the sport they love. From basic gear checks to learning more about equipment, aircraft safety, first aid, canopy flight and many other topics, Safety Day covers it all.
Organizing the Day
USPA tasks Safety & Training Advisors with conducting the event, but they can always use help. Contact your drop zone’s S&TA now to volunteer to help with organizing. USPA provides plenty of support for the event: Interesting presentations, handouts, games and videos are available for download from the USPA website. We’ve also collaborated with Jumper Sportswear to make Safety Day T-shirts available at very reasonable prices. And don’t forget to honor a deserving local jumper with the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award. Tap local experts to cover the various topics. The audience will appreciate a lively, interactive presentation by a knowledgeable presenter a lot more than a dry lecture by someone who may not know a lot about the subject reading from a piece of paper. To help you get started, check out the “Safety Day Guidelines and Procedures Guide”—a checklist that helps organizers plan the day—on uspa.org.
Be sure to take advantage of all the materials available for download from the USPA website. You can make copies of handouts and use the PowerPoint presentations and videos to liven up the event. Here are some of the general resources you can tap into online:
- “Safety Day Checklist”—a handy reference that can be copied and provided to each participant
- A new-and-improved skydiving-safety-related Jeopardy!® game—available in PowerPoint® so that a presenter may run the game from a computer or simply print out the pages to play it manually
And USPA has compiled a number of canopy-control-specific materials to help S&TAs prepare Safety Day presentations and drills with an eye on reducing canopy collisions and landing accidents:
- “The Downsizing Checklist—Seven Canopy Skills to Perfect Before Going Smaller for Performance” (new for 2012) and “25 Ways to Become a Better Canopy Pilot” offer jumpers hands-on drills to improve their canopy flight.
- Canopy drill demonstration videos on SkydiveSchool.org (new for 2012)
- “Canopy Risk Quotient” quiz
- “Safety First” article about separating high-performance and standard landing patterns—for use as a talking point in discussions about avoiding canopy collisions
- The “Fly to Survive” canopy safety video
Ending the day with food and drink has become a standard part of the event. So, make sure to plan a social gathering to give everyone a chance to catch up after a long, cold winter and make plans for lots of jumping in the coming season.
Each year, more than 7,000 USPA members head to hundreds of Safety Day events located across the country and around the world. Be sure to set aside the date and join your friends for a day of fun and education. But if you are still sporting a mullet, well, you might want to stop by a barber shop before you get to the drop zone.
On a weather day at Skydive New England in Lebanon, Maine, jumper Brian Touhey donned gear that he had purposefully misrigged in 20 different ways. He challenged jumpers to find all the mistakes. Photo by Harry Parker.
Honor a Jumper Who Has Contributed to Safety at Your DZ
The Ches Judy Award | Selections Due by February 24
Do you know a jumper who always looks out for others or whose efforts make your drop zone a safer place? Safety Day is the perfect time to give that deserving someone recognition for a job well done. Remind your S&TA or drop zone owner to select a recipient for the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award. The award should be presented to someone who, in the previous year through example, deed, training or innovation, has promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way. To receive a free, frameable certificate to present to your DZ’s Ches Judy Award winner, send the full name of the recipient, the drop zone location and the presenter’s mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than February 24, 2012.
Reporting on Safety Day
Submissions Due by March 19
A list of all participating drop zones, photos of the Ches Judy Award recipients, a report on any new or innovative ideas and a selection of the day’s best snapshots will appear in the May issue of Parachutist. Drop zones must submit reports and photos by March 19 to be considered for print publication. Submissions should be made via the form found at uspa.org under the Safety Day icon. The Ches Judy Award recipient photo should be a headshot or a crop-able photo in which the recipient is prominent.
Orders due by March 1
Jumper Sportswear is once again offering the popular Safety Day logo T-shirts for orders of any quantity at the rock-bottom price of $3.95 each ($4.45 for 2XL) plus shipping. For orders of 12 or more shirts, a drop zone can add its logo to the sleeve at $1.25 more per shirt. Contact Lisa at email@example.com to place your order.