USPA Safety Day is just around the corner—on March 14—and most DZs are gearing up for the event. Each year, DZs tend to cover the same topics, and although these are important and provide a great review, we’re hoping that this year they’ll also get creative and find more ways to engage skydivers.
One topic that doesn’t often get a lot of coverage but should are emergencies that happen under canopy below 2,000 feet. The mindset of most jumpers once their canopies open is, “Everything is OK now that my parachute is open and I’m heading back to the DZ.” However, several emergency situations can occur during what should be a leisurely canopy ride back to the landing area. Having a complacent attitude about this part of the skydive is dangerous, since abnormal occurrences during the descent can lead to injuries or fatalities (and many times have).
Consequently, we are asking drop zone operators and Safety and Training Advisors to consider holding an open forum on Safety Day covering incidents that occur below 2,000 feet. Provide scenarios in question form to help your jumpers think through how such emergencies could happen, how to prevent them from happening and what to do if they do happen. Here are a few suggestions of topics to pose to your audience to generate discussion and lead them to a deeper understanding:
This year on Safety Day, in addition to covering the standard topics, focus on broadening your jumpers’ knowledge base. By asking these questions, you will motivate skydivers to develop critical problem-solving skills that will be sure to help if they find themselves in these situations. This, in turn, will help the skydiving community think outside the box and be more prepared and educated for each and every skydive.
Michael Wadkins | D-18691; AFF, Tandem, Static-Line and IAD Instructor Examiner;
Coach Examiner; PRO
North Central Regional Director and Safety & Training Committee Chair
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