COC Coordinator Manual

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Safety Policy

Important Notice:
Coordinators must lead by example and follow ALL items in the Safety Policy. Any violation of Safety Policy (e.g. extending trips into avalanche terrain, not wearing helmets on bike trips or scrambles, not wearing PFDs, allowing others to participate without required equipment) will result in a written warning. A second violation of the Safety Policy will result in a probationary period wherein the Coordinator cannot coordinate all/certain types of events. The probationary term and conditions will determined by the Executive, Volunteer Coordinator and Safety Officer on a case-by-case basis.
Note: In some instances, where a participant does not listen to the coordinator (e.g., charges ahead of the group and does not wait), the coordinator is encouraged to report the behaviour so the participant can be issued a warning by the Executive and not cause the same problem for other Coordinators. If a Coordinator has made all reasonable efforts to manage the group properly, he/she will not be given a warning or put on probation.



Coordinator Qualities:
  1. To coordinate a trip, the coordinator must be recently experienced in that type of trip.
  2. To coordinate a trip of a a certain difficulty level, the coordinator must have recently (i.e., in the last year) completed at least three trips at that, or higher, difficulty level. For example, before you can coordinate a D4 hike, you must have completed/attended at least three D4+ hikes in the past year. Note that your relevant experience does not have to be with the COC. Events of the type described below will be checked to ensure that the coordinator has the required experience and if it does not appear in their COC event history, then the event may be put on hold pending communication of applicable experience. Before you post your first event of a specific type rated at D5 or higher, if your COC event history does not include the relevant experience, you should send an e-mail with your relevant experience to the Club President, Vice President and Safety Committee.
  3. To coordinate a trip the coordinator must be comfortable with the challenges of the trip.
  4. To coordinate a trip the President, Vice President, and Safety Committee must be comfortable with the coordinator coordinating the trip.
Events:
  1. A member (ie. non-volunteer) interested in coordinating a trip must contact the Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@calgaryoutdoorclub.com.
  2. Events that are technical or extreme in nature will be reviewed by the President, Vice President, and Safety Committee for approval on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Events currently not accepted by the COC unless run through an external organization are described in our FAQ on Scope.
  4. Coordinators must do a reasonable amount of research regarding the conditions and safety of the event they're planning. Some good resources can be found on our Links page.
Equipment:
  1. Members are required to provide the appropriate equipment for each trip.
  2. Bicycle safety: According to the City of Calgary Parks and Pathways Bylaw 20M2003, a horn, bell or other signaling device is required on bicycles using City of Calgary parks and pathways. More info at: Calgary.ca.
  3. Wrist guards and helmets should be recommended for rollerblading events.
Water Safety:
  1. All attendees MUST wear PFDs on any/all water trips (ie. river floats) whenever it is the law to do so. Many people ignore this law, but on Club events, we will follow this law to the letter.
  2. In the shoulder seasons there is an increased risk of hypothermia and/or death should your vessel capsize. Read info on hypothermia at www.hypothermia.org/inwater.htm.
Winter/Avalanche Safety

The COC has comprehensive winter safety considerations for all back country winter events.
You can find the policy here: Winter Safety Policy

Minimum Group Sizes

The minimum group size for any out-of-town event is 3, except for where Parks rules or other laws require more, in which case the COC policy is to follow the legislated minimum. Maximum group size is not covered in this safety policy, but the COC does have maximum group size policies in place for other reasons. This is covered in the Coordinator Commandments.

Scrambles:

All ratings mentioned below are based on the book, Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies, by Alan Kane. All scrambles not in this book will be considered at least moderate for group size and helmet requirements.

Group size: Easy scrambles. No more than 12 people. Moderate and difficult scrambles. No more than eight. If you're new to scramble coordination, consider even smaller groups for your first few events with a maximum of eight, even for easy scrambles. For some scrambles, even smaller groups may be appropriate no matter how experienced you are as rock fall and exposure risks increase.

Helmets: Rock helmets (no bike or other helmets!) are required for all scrambles rated moderate or difficult. On easy scrambles, helmets will be required for all scrambles new to the club and a decision can be made after the event as to whether the risk warrants helmets on subsequent trips to the same location. Some easy-rated scrambles will always require helmets. To date, the following fall into this category: Yamnuska, Tower of Babel and Mount Burgess. This list may be expanded as the club completes more trips to new areas. On events where it's been determined they are not necessary, always add helmets to the list of recommended equipment anyway so people have the choice of whether or not to bring them.

General advice: don't coordinate trips at the top end of your ability (i.e., it's a good idea to have completed several difficult scrambles before coordinating moderate trips. Don't be shy about questioning the ability of registrants especially on the moderate and difficult trips. And don't take on more than two people who you think might be pushing their limits on a trip, especially if you're not that experienced yourself.

Group Management:

All events will strive to achieve good group management. This means that the coordinator will ensure the group does not become stretched too far apart such that group communication is lost. A couple of suggestions as to how to achieve good group management are:
  1. Stop and collect at every junction
  2. Stop and collect every 15 minutes
  3. Don't make assumptions about members' abilities, paces or whereabouts
  4. Confirm through fact
Turning Back:
  1. When a situation requires an attendee to turn back mid way through the trip, the attendee should not go back alone. The coordinator or any of the other attendee may volunteer for the return trip.
  2. The coordinator will try to get an experienced attendee to volunteer to go back with the person. Barring that, the coordinator will go back with them if it does not put the rest of the group in jeopardy.
Location-Specific Considerations:
  1. All COC trips going to Mount Yamnuska for any reason, which will include traversing along the front of the cliff, require climbing helmets from all participants, and require that those helmets be worn while in front of the cliff. Note that bike helmets and other helmets are NOT sufficient... proper climbing helmets are a must. This is to protect people from being killed by a rock falling from the cliff. It doesn't take a very big rock, nor a very far fall for the rock, to seriously injure or kill someone if they're struck by one.
  2. Trips going to Canyon Creek Ice Caves with the intention of entering and exploring the caves require a Mountaineering Helmet.
Conflict:
In a situation involving conflict, the top priority must be the safety of all parties, including any offending members. Do whatever you can to minimize conflict (ie. rearrange carpools to separate the parties in conflict) but make the safety of all persons the number one consideration.

For more information, please contact our Safety/Equipment Coordinator, safety@calgaryoutdoorclub.com.