Adventure, Company News, Expedition News, Latest Expeditions | 17th October 2018
Let me start by saying it is never easy to write a blog about safety.
It would be easy just to focus on our credentials, about us being Full Members of the Expedition Providers Association and holding the ‘Council for Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, or the fact we are independently inspected against the British Standard 8848. I could also continue to expound about our use of technology that is linked to a 24/7 Operations Room, manned by Directors and Staff who are the very people who worked with the teams prior to departure.
I could go into detail about us being a company that maintains family values and has long term, mutually respectful relationships with our leaders, who themselves have a deep understanding of our safety and back-up processes and will (in all but the very exception) have trained the team here in the UK. I could even talk of my own experience of over 35 years of identifying and managing physical risk.
Ultimately all these things are important, but actually when I think about our approach to safety it is much deeper and more fundamental than the sum of these things.
Simply put, True Adventure was built from its foundations up, with safety as an overarching principle. Everything we do is with the mitigation of risk in the forefront of everyone’s mind. This may sound obvious, but this embedded 360 degree culture is key. Our teams deserve nothing less as they embark on these lifechanging experiences that arm them with the skills to help them meet life’s many challenges.
Of course, it is always a balance. As adults we are hard-wired to look after children. We have all seen and cringed when we notice a child run in to the road after a football for example. As a parent of two daughters, I myself questioned countless times, “should I let her do that”? Ask any parent who takes their child out cycling on the roads for the first time and they will tell you, with some concern, about balancing the risk against the benefits and skills that they build up by cycling; independence, confidence, resilience, fitness, to name but a few. We also all know that once you have learnt to ride a bike you never forget. It is with this principle that our Risk Benefit Analysis was forged.
Exposure to risk is part of everyday life. Road traffic accidents are by far the most common cause of serious injury to teenagers, but we don’t stop our children from crossing the road or getting into a car. We all understand that over-protecting our children doesn't help them in the long term, so we focus on teaching them to identify what could harm them and then to mitigate that possibility – We show them the best place to safely cross a road, ensure that they know to wear a seat belt, even, dare I say, suggest that they think before they get in to a friend’s car late at night.
In summary, managing risk is day to day routine business for us;
With our strong ‘safety foundations’ we have the time, technical
knowledge and experience to balance the risk with the benefits, the judgment
and integrity to say no, and the experience of our destinations, activities and
environments to add control measures that are required to reduce the risk. Our In -country agents work
closely with our own Technical Leaders. The Technical Leader, in turn, will
have got to know the school through training, meeting their parents and most
importantly spending critical time with the school staff at our leader
conference. Our Operations Room Staff and Directors are always available to
pick up any issues or questions.
These elements join together to give the very best expedition leadership - technical expertise, understanding of UK regulations and guidelines, familiar adult faces from the very start, and local influence and knowledge.
With regards to safety we never rest on our laurels, we never make assumptions, we anticipate others inaction as well as actions. Finally, we are not afraid to ask “why” or “what if.”