Learning how to rappel safely at the Forest bluff.

Risk Management

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The programs we offer at Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre contain an element of risk. The enjoyment and educational benefit derived from participation is, in part, a result of the risks inherent to outdoor activities. While SPL strives to manage risk, it is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all risk.

The safety of our participants and managing risk is our top priority. Activities are carefully designed and facilitated to pose appropriate challenges for participants, further learning outcomes, develop character, and contribute to feelings of accomplishment. Ongoing staff training, highly qualified instructors and continuous evaluation of procedures contribute to our enviable safety record.  Through the constant upgrading of equipment and facilities, along with regular review of safety practices, Strathcona endeavours to ensure that the safety and well-being of program participants.

Most of the risk that participants experience are perceived risks, not real risks. That is, the student perceives there to be real risk – and real consequences – but the experience is actually controlled by the instructor. For example, students on a high ropes course often perceive the activity to be risky because it takes place a few meters above the ground where a fall would normally be dangerous. The real risk of falling, however, is safeguarded by using safety ropes and trained instructors.

Real risks, the type that SPL, teachers and parents are concerned about, can be broadly defined as having a low likelihood or high likelihood of occurrence and being of low consequence or high consequence. School sports such as soccer and volleyball that students routinely participate in often involve a high likelihood of real risk – bumps, bruises and sprains – but have low consequences. These risks are generally acceptable to students and parents. Most outdoor education injuries would be similar to these types of sports injuries.

High consequence risk, often called catastrophic risk, are those which involve the possibility of serious injury or fatality. While exposing students to low consequence risks – such as the likelihood of spraining an ankle while hiking – is generally accepted, exposing students to catastrophic risk is not. Through program development, route selection, participant suitability, instructor training and other safety procedures, SPL employs various measures to manage participants’ exposure to risk.

Our greatest compliment is that many schools return year after year. They come back because they know we take safety seriously. Instructors enjoy an open and honest relationship with supervisors and managers. Issues and concerns are dealt with immediately. We have detailed risk management protocols and procedures that are reviewed and reevaluated regularly.

Strathcona Park Lodge and its employees can’t manage all the risks on their own. A large responsibility rests with the participants to share in the safety of themselves and others during all activities. That’s why as part of our safety and risk plan we ask every participant to sign a youth consent form. This is not a waiver, nor does it pretend to absolve us of all responsibility for the safety of your child. It is an educational tool to inform parents, teachers and students of the types of activities, and risks and responsibilities involved with a Strathcona visit. By signing it, participants agree to share in the managing of risk with their instructor, Strathcona Park Lodge and their group.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety and risk management at Strathcona Park Lodge please call, 250-286-3122, or email, paul@strathconaparklodge.com