Safety Day – 5 Easy Activities

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Practical action on Safety Day breaks up the seminars, reinforces learning, sticks in people’s minds and gives rise to questions and discussion. There is only so long you can sit still and listen!

Fighting out of a simulated canopy collision at Skydive Hibaldstow
Image by Skydive Hibaldstow. Idea by Kris Cavill

Useful Safety Day exercises…

1. Canopy Collision Drills

This one is fun, entertaining to watch, a real eye-opener and provides a great opportunity for discussion.

Jumpers hang from a suspended harness. Two volunteers wrap them in an old canopy as though they have just had a canopy collision on opening. The goal is to find your hook knife and cut your way out so you can see and take off your brakes.

Note: This will blunt the knives so have a set of various types of hook knives available for jumpers to use and test. Many hook knives will prove not strong enough. Obviously it trashes the canopies too!

Discussion: Do you have a plan for a canopy collision?

Rachael, 50 jumps, asks you for a gear check
Image by Timothy Parrant

2. Gear Checks

Have some dummies or volunteers poorly kitted up to skydive, having generated some serious safety issues. Then take turns at giving a flightline check. Everyone writes down any issues and you can see what problems may go unnoticed. Reveal them at the end of everyone’s action.

Try it: Check Rachael out here and find out the 13 problems here

Practicing EPs at Skydive Cross Keys Safety Day 2019
Image by Skydive Cross Keys

3 Emergency procedures

The old ones are the best. Take turns in a suspended harness, use your own rig if possible, and buddy up to shout malfunctions at each other. Reinforces correct action muscle memory of EPs.

Fact: In 2017 the leading cause of USPA fatalities was incorrect Emergency Procedures. 13% of USPA Fatalities in 2019 were due to incorrect EPs.

Confession: A few years ago at a Skydive Perris big-way we were grounded by weather. Dan BC recommended we do EPs in their suspended harnesses. I elected to go shopping instead 😉 The next day we jumped and of course I had a malfunction. My EPs actually went fine but it made me realise shopping was a dumb call. Sorry Dan!


4 Packing Demo

It’s easy to take packing for granted and not really change the way you learned in the beginning. But poor packing can increase the chance of malfunctions and off-heading openings, thereby increasing the chance of a canopy collision. Ask one of the DZ packers to give a demo and most likely everyone will learn something.  Or watch the Performance Designs video here.

Fact: A very experienced jumper changed to a more radical canopy (downsize and model change). He packed himself two malfunctions before realizing he had to upgrade his packing at the same time as the canopy.

Bangkok World’s Largest Mass Drop, 672 skydivers – World Team 2006
Image by Henny Wiggers

5 PLF Drills

How long since you did a parachute landing fall? In some situations, especially turbulent landings, a plf can save injuries like breaking bones or tearing ligaments. Hop up on the student fan trainer and try a few rolls. This is especially good for skydivers who started on ram-air (square) canopies as the plf is probably not so ingrained as for those who started on rounds.

Fact: At the 2004 Bangkok Mass Drop World Team demo Kate Cooper-Jensen caught a down draught but avoided injury with a great plf, saying that was the only difference between her landing and another jumper, who sustained serious leg injuries.

🤔 Thought for the Day

These activities aren’t just for Safety Day. They are all excellent for bad weather days, to keep up energy levels, encourage learning and promote the DZ safety culture.


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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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