Kids MTB Safety Part 1
I ran some posts last year on MTB safety which was probably most relevant to adults. This year I'll be covering MTB safety aimed at slightly older kids who ride with their friends and without an adult with them. I'd recommend getting these kids to read these posts over the coming week.
This isn't a first aid or emergency response course and I won't be going into anywhere near as much detail as such a course would. Rather, these posts are intended to give kids a good starting point to get them thinking about how they might react if something nasty happens. These topics are often discussed on HBA rides.
Let's start with how to assess the scene and call for help.
Before you do anything you need to remember that your priority is always yourself. You're not much use to your injured friend if you get injured too. It's also not great if one injured person becomes several injured persons. Look around for dangers (such as open water, steep ground, animals, exposure to weather) and take these into consideration. Warn other trail users coming down the trail by sending one of your group up or laying your bike upside down across the trail.
Assess their condition and injuries. If they can walk off the trails back home then begin to do but consider calling an adult to collect in a vehicle where possible.
If their injuries mean that you need specialist help then you're going to have to get that help and stay with them until help arrives. If you're close to a tarmac road, you can call 999 and ask for an ambulance. The crew will walk a short distance from a road but anything further than that will require mountain rescue. For mountain rescue assistance you will need to call 999 and ask for police then mountain rescue.
You'll be asked for: - Your location - Name, gender and age of casualty - What has happened and what their injuries are - Number of people in your group and what kit you have with you - Your, or others in your group, mobile phone number
A note on location. Call handlers and mountain rescue teams (MRT) may not be familiar with the trail network you're riding. They might not be able to identify the trails from the names you give them. What MRTs need is a grid reference. Any other means of giving a location (trail name, what3words or even a description of the area around you) will ultimately be translated into a grid reference for the team members.
Save vital time by downloading the free OS Locate app and learning how to use it.
Do it now.
This app uses your phone's GPS to give you a grid reference of two letters and six numbers. This is what you want to give when you call for help and will ensure the quickest response time.
The call handler will talk you through how to keep the group and the injured person safe given the situation you are in and what kit you have with you. Do not end the call unless they tell you to. It will be tempting to call a parent but priority must be to call 999.