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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Safety Day

  • Why go to Safety Day?
  • What happens?
  • Who's it for?
Suspended harness for cutaway practice — by Elly Clement
Suspended harness for cutaway practice — by Elly Clement

What is Safety Day?

Safety Day, for the new generations who might not know, is a day that skydivers dedicate to review safety details within our sport in all aspects:

  • equipment
  • equipment boarding
  • ascent
  • aircraft emergencies
  • exits
  • free fall,
  • separation,
  • openings,
  • landing patterns
  • etc etc, everything in the jump process and how to plan for safe skydives.

As far as I know, skydiving is the only sport that makes this an annual, international practice; to spend a day reviewing security details required for safe practice of the sport.

In fact, skydiving in itself is a very safe sport, this makes us generally jump very confidently. Because almost nothing scary ever happens, we can easily stop thinking about “what would I do if there was an emergency.” So, because incidents are rare, we can fall into the trap of not knowing how to solve them properly because we have not recently practiced.

An accident within skydiving is rare – but if one happens it can be fatal. Skydiving is a potentially risky sport; we play at high speed in an environment that was not designed for us. We are not designed to be in it; we had to equip to adapt, and our equipment requires certain attention and maintenance.

by Lesley Gale
by Lesley Gale

Why do accidents happen?

As in everything, when accidents happen it is because of a combination factors. Breaking one link in the chain of events is usually enough to prevent injury or worse.

Risk factors

  • Exceeding the limit of abilities; not realizing that we are not fully prepared to perform a particular activity or maneuver.
  • Misinformation or lack of informnation
  • Lack of currency
  • Poor or insufficient equipment maintenance. Whether jumping our own or rental gear, we must learn to identify damages that could cause a problem.
  • Not saying 'No' to something we don't feel prepared for
  • Outside pressure to do something we haven't mastered, especially when the person has insufficient experience to guide us. Poor coaches and bad organizers can get us into big problems, because how can we know what is right or wrong when just starting?
  • Not accepting our mistakes and learning from them.
  • Perhaps the most common, flying a canopy that doesn't correspond with our experience and skill set.

These, among other things, are circumstances that lead us down a risky path. This set of situations and mistakes will hurt us sooner or later, but the best news is we can avoid them, by practicing, staying informed and keeping our gear in good condition. Easy!

Poor coaches and bad organizers can get us into big problems.
Hands-on gear activities and demoes broaden our knowledge — by Lesley Gale
Hands-on gear activities and demoes broaden our knowledge — by Lesley Gale

Who is Safety Day for?

Safety Day is often focused on people with low experience – but it is for everyone. Very experienced skydivers also require refreshing safety aspects, because our sport is fast-moving, there are always new techniques, procedures, materials and devices. Keeping up to date with this information is everyone's duty. Staying abreast of what happens; situations, statistics, accidents, etc. gives us the opportunity to learn without having to live through a bad experience ourselves.

Always choose to learn in the “cheapest” way. It sucks to learn in an expensive way, with time in hospital or losing a friend. There are better ways to acquire experience by paying attention to what's happening around us.

Let's learn from others and share what we know with others.

For all these reasons, I strongly recommend committing to Safety Day. It's also an opportunity to meet the other jumpers at your DZ, with whom you can learn, share and plan new strategies to protect ourselves as a team.

If I am safe, you are safe … and vice versa.

Article translated from the original in Spanish, on Mextreme Skydiving

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