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Clarke's First Law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Arthur C. Clarke

Section C: Safety Rule Changes

This version of Rogaine was used at a school that already had a demanding outdoor program. We already had a safety routine. This section was set originally as a set of changes from those standard rules. I've attempted to revise for the person unfamaliar with SJSA's outdoor rules, but doubtless I'll miss a few things here.

Our standard gear for all winter programs: * Polypro longjohns, top and bottom. * Nylon wind pants * Fleece jacket * Nylon parka with hood. * Toque. * Necktube or scarf * fleece or wool inner mittens * Nylon or leather outer mittens. * Wool blend socks -- 2 pair on feet. * Appropriate foot wear for weather. * Backpack -- about 25 liter.

Spare top layer: Fleece or quilted jacket. Spare socks.

Kids didn't have to wear all the above, but they had to have it with them.

Rogaine players were encouraged to bring a liter of water, and a couple sandwiches. Food and water were always available at checkpoints.

To some this may seem overkill. But when working with a school of 100+ kids, having a standard set of gear that is checked before every event, makes one factor of safety automatic.

C-1 Race Marshall's Discrection

Anything not specifically covered in the rules will be interpreted by the Race Marshall in light of the intent of the rules. The Race Marshall may modify any rule in the interests of safety.

This is a catchall that allows the Race Marshall to wing it when some captain throws a curve. Usually this has resulted in a new rule, or a clarification of a rule in the next printing.

C-2 Safety Rules Take Precedence.

These rules are not a general replacement for the safety regulations Safety regulations will be in effect for all outdoor programs. Modifications are intended to remain in the spirit of the traditional snowshoeing rules, or to enhance precautions in effort to counter balance greater risks. Anytime these rules are in conflict with the safety regulations, the safety regulations take precedence.

Although not a replacement, we have modified some safety rules in light of this program. In all cases the modifications are safer than the rule they supplant. The nature of this program is somewhat higher risk than the tradition snowshoe programs. These modifications do much to redress the balance.

C-3 Communication Rule

The leader may at any time ask the Captain to demonstrate that he has communication with his entire team. He must have two signals pre-arranged, each with a response or acknowledgement. “Where are you?” and “Come to me!”

In the event that communication is not demonstrated, the leader will immediately require the captain to assemble the team, and will assess a penalty of 5 points for each minute this task takes. Whistles and hand signals are acceptable communication methods, if they work.

Leaders should ask the captains to demonstrate this any time they have not heard or seen some team member for two minutes. (Snowshoe race teams had to travel with no more than 15 meters between first and last man -- teams could be disqualified for disregarding this rule. This rule is more effective than the 15 meter rule, as it has a much clearer and less draconian response for violation.)

The intent is that the captain must be able to monitor his team, and collect them together if there is a problem. The mode can be by voice, whistle, smoke signal or any other means that gives direction to the reply. It may not be by radio, as we have no way to tell where a radio signal comes from. (This does not prohibit the use of radio for other communication.)

Example: Team spreads out to find the control buried in the heart of a tea bog. Leader is concerned as he can’t hear the team members. He asks the captain to demonstrate control. Captain calls out, “Count off!” “one.” “Two.” Pause. “Four.” “Five.”

“Smith! Where are you?”

Leader says, “Collect them together!” Takes captains 12 minutes to get them through the bush into one spot where they can talk. Team is penalized 60 points, plus the time lost from the search for the control, and the time to reorganize the search in a manner that fits this rule.

C-4 Safety Gear

In addition to personal gear, each team will have the following with them on all runs:

In the event of an injury accident, it is likely that the patient will have to be stabilized at the accident site and will have to wait for some hours while help is sought and he is moved to shelter. (Many of the trails are not easy snowmobiling. Any realistic assessment of an injury accident shows that we must expect it to take up to 4 hours to get a victim to shelter.) These requirements both decrease the chance of hypothermia as a complicating factor, and increase the chances that the patient can be moved by the team personnel to meet medical help at the nearest road.

In passing: In 7 years of running races, pushing kids to the edge of their endurance none of this has been necessary. Indeed, judging by the crutch count, basketball is far more dangerous than any of our outdoor programs.

C-5 Safety Mindset (2006)

Each team member is responsible for the entire team’s welfare. Each team member will act with caution dealing with steep hills, slippery slopes, sticks & branches, creeks and lakes, and road hazards

This arose after one cluck decided to run down a hill that was so steep it was barely climbable. He tripped on a small stump, and crashed uncontrolled for the next 15 feet.

The referee is responsible for teaching this mindset both in word and example

C-6 Prescribed Route Sections

On long races, the Race Marshall may prescribe the route between the school and first checkpoint or between final checkpoint and the school. If invoked this will be announced in time for captains to re-plan their routes. Circumstances, such as a weather change, could cause the RM to prescribe this with little warning..

A race that starts before dawn will commonly have a prescribed route to the first checkpoint. Long races frequently end after dark. We prefer to have students on well-known standard routes late in the day. Almost all of the serious problems that Saint John’s School has had with hypothermia have occurred near the end of the day. Teams will not be penalized for controls they miss due to a RM’s route change

C-7 Sunset Rule

At sunset, or at a time prescribed by the Race Marshall, teams will break off searching for controls and make a reasonably direct route to the nearest road or well-travelled route. They may pick up controls on the way.

The leader with the group has reasonable discretion in deciding what constitutes “direct.” As a guideline, no delay of more than roughly 10 minutes should be entertained. Controls requiring work on steep or difficult terrain should be skipped. This came up on a day that was sloppy wet, and everyone was moving at about ¾ of their normal pace. The Race Marshall felt that having kids go crashing through the bushes after dark trying to find controls by touch was a bad idea.