New guidelines in managing outdoor adventure emergencies, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New guidelines in managing outdoor adventure emergencies

A guide to support outdoor education providers in managing emergencies and improving safety was released on Jan 24.

The nearly 20-page document by the Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE) Council – set up in September 2022 – spells out the steps that providers should take before, during and after emergencies.

These include identifying types of emergencies and serious incidents that are commonly associated with certain programmes, such as exposure to weather elements or bone injuries. Providers should also differentiate between minor and major emergencies, which will then guide the organisation’s response and measures according to the severity and impact of incidents.

The guide also states that there should be specific roles and responsibilities assigned to individuals in providers’ emergency action plans. For instance, an activity leader ought to assume ground leadership, cease the activity and report the incident, among other steps.

The announcement of these guidelines comes after the death of 15-year-old Jethro Puah Xin Yang, who fell from a high-element course on Feb 3, 2021, at Safra Yishun during a school activity organised by Camelot, an outdoor adventure learning company.

Muhammad Nurul Hakim Mohamed Din, 23, the volunteer outdoor activities facilitator who failed to do a physical check on Jethro’s harness, was sentenced to six months in jail on Jan 16.

In addition, a compulsory set of guidelines to address safety in OAE activities is being developed and will be available for public feedback in the second half of 2024. It is expected to be published by 2025.

Upon completion, this national standard for OAE activities will spell out the expected level of care of safety to be practised by activity instructors, and their accountabilities when conducting such activities – land-based, water-based and height activities.

Key stakeholders such as the Institute of Technical Education and Outward Bound Singapore are among the 17 organisational representatives that have been working together with the OAE council to develop these guidelines.

Currently, OAE providers and instructors offering height-based activities to students need to implement the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) enhanced safety measures, which were published in November 2022.

By the first quarter of 2025, the OAE sector can expect support to build their skills through a workforce development road map. It will outline the specific job scopes, prerequisites and possibilities for career progression within the OAE sector.