Since 1997, USPA has selected the second weekend of March as National Skydiving Safety Day and encouraged DZs everywhere to participate. The idea is simple; have skydivers focus for a day on the skydiving information, issues, procedures and training that can keep them alive in the upcoming season.With just one life saved, the payoff is huge.
Safety Day was the idea of a soft-spoken but enthusiastic woman named Patti Chernis who approached the USPA Board of Directors with the concept in 1996.The board applauded and endorsed her plan. Safety Day preparations were well underway when, in the ultimate of ironies, Chernis died while skydiving on New Year's Eve 1996, just a day before she would have been elected USPA Northwest Regional Director. It was in her honor that Safety Day began in 1997 and her legacy that it continues to grow each year. A majority of DZs now report Safety Day activities each March.
Planning Safety Day
How does it work? As simply as this: First, announce to your jumpers that your DZ is hosting a Safety Day. You may want to offer incentives to boost attendance. Many DZs offer free or discounted jump tickets, free food, discounted reserve pack jobs, door prizes, or any combination.
Second, select a suitable location.Think comfort. If the hangar won't be warm or large enough, consider a restaurant, school gym, motel, or veteran's lodge. Anticipate a good turnout and be sure you have room for lectures, training-harness drills, and rig inspections.
Third, put a training syllabus and staff together. Feel free to use the training ideas included here, which involve the four modules or stations below, with just some ideas on content.
Gear Check and Review - Have jumpers inspect their rigs with a rigger. Check closing loops and flaps, pilot chute snugness and condition, velcro, three-ring condition, RSL routing, AAD compliance with battery and fac-tory check, etc.
Skydiving Emergency Review and Drills - Review all types of problems, reinforce altitude awareness, discuss disorientation, practice in a suspended harness.
Canopy Flight and Landing Patterns - Use aerial photos to show acceptable and unacceptable outs, review hazards, establish or review landing patterns, and discuss canopy handling toward preventing low-turn acci-dents.
Aircraft Procedures and Emergencies - Review exit order and loading procedures, seat belt and weight and balance concerns, spotting procedures, visibility minimums and cloud clearances, air traffic control require-ments, and aircraft emergency scenarios.
Last, don't forget the PR. Give recognition to those who turn out and those who teach. Remember that many local news organizations may want to provide news coverage. Take pictures and send them with a brief write-up to Parachutist. And consider that the skydivers who don't participate may need more of your staff's attention when the season kicks in.
USPA Director of Group Membership
For more information got to the USPA web site