With the concern of COVID-19 now in our minds whilst working in the outdoors SOTRG have been looking at what we carry in the mountains now, should and accident happen as well as a few precautions we can take in general to try and stop the spread of the virus.
New Standard Procedures and Equipment
We are asking all out clients to bring the following on courses:
- Face Covering – These could be a proper facemask (although non medical grade), a homemade face mask or even a buff that can be pulled up over the mouth and nose. These would be used when the Scottish Government guidance on physical distancing cannot be kept due to safety concerns. It is worth noting that once a face covering has been used it is potentially contaminated so could be washed at 60degrees before being used again or stored safely for a minimum of 72 hours. With this in mind it is probably best to have a number of face coverings for a course that will last more than a day.
- Hand Gel – Cleaning hands regularly especially before and/or after using a face covering, eating etc is recommended. It is obviously not possible in the mountains to wash with soap and water so hand gel (ideally with an alcohol content of 70% or more) is used.
- Extra Gloves – In cold conditions we will want to wear gloves, however gloves cannot be cleaned like hands and can be contaminated just as easily. It is recommended that more gloves brought on a course so that they can be washed or isolated after they have been used. These don’t need to be expensive gloves, in face BQ do and excellent range of work cloves for around £5 a pair!
- Extra warm clothing (weather dependant) as we will not be using a group shelter for lunch stops, it is recommend you pop an extra layer in your rucksack for chilly days!
- 1st Aid Kit – If everyone brings their own small 1st aid kit, this is not for major incident but more for little cuts, grazes and blisters, what we often call an ‘ouch pouch’. The type of 1st aid you can carry out on yourself. This way the larger group 1st aid kit can stay sterile until needed for any serious incident.
Extra Emergency Equipment and Clothing
We obviously hope that we will never need a 1st aid kit or any emergency equipment but we can never remove all risk from the mountains. Because of COVID we are now carrying a few extra items and encouraging clients to bring a few things as well.
- Extra group shelters – We will now carry a few (group size dependant) group shelters so that in the case of an incident when we have to use a shelter for safety sake, we do not all have to squeeze into one.
- Blizzard Jackets – Even in the event of an incident we will encourage clients not to get in a group shelter, one excellent item of clothing that could stop people from getting cold when stationary is a Blizzard Jacket https://www.blizzardsurvival.com/shop/blizzard-3-layer-survival-jacket/ as instructors we have used Blizzard equipment for many years and can vouch for the usefulness and warmth when needed.
- COVID-19 Grab Bag – In addition to our normal 1st aid kit as instructors we will now carry a COVID grad bag. This will have in it some disposable face masks, extra disposable gloves, hand sanitiser and eye protection. The eye protection does not have to be expensive, again BQ have a good range of safety glasses and goggles that will do the trick nicely.
We hope this helps with some ideas of what extra you might want to take on the hills with you now and if you have any questions please just get in touch.