Auto Belays

September 18, 2012

Love them or Leave them

Heather Reynolds
Climbing and Outdoor Rec Program Coordinator
Dalhousie University

Before heading to the Climbing Wall Summit in Boulder Colorado this Spring, I received a call from Candie Fisher of Eldorado Wall Company, the company which installed the climbing wall I manage at Dalhousie University. Candie was interested in talking to me about Auto Belays, in particular, the TruBlue Auto Belay system Eldorado is now promoting.

In the event you haven’t heard about auto belays, the concept behind these devices is that the climber clips into a rope or a cable with a locking carabiner and as s/he climbs up the wall, the cable or rope is being ‘taken in,’ or retracted, by the device anchored at the top of the wall. If the climber falls, the device has a braking system that stalls or slows the rope as it lowers the climber to the ground. It doesn’t hold the climber in one spot, rather it generates the ‘right’ amount of friction on the rope to lower the climber at a safe speed toward the ground. Once on the ground, the climber can unclip and secure the cable or rope to an anchor for another person to use, or s/he can climb again. Essentially, the climber does not need a belayer – a person to hold the rope for him/her as they climb.

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Security lessons from the G20 and Vancouver

May 10, 2012

Shelley Timms, B.A., LL.B., LL.M.
Timshel Services Inc.
Alcohol Risk Management

Recent events such as the G20 and the NHL Final in Vancouver are examples of what happens when security issues are not given the attention required. In once situation, there was inadequate time to train people for the situations that were expected and in fact did happen, and in the other, there appeared to be little planning at all.

Security is needed for most events from the most innocuous (in-house residence nights) to the regular (pub nights) to the obvious (Homecoming/major sports events). Its importance needs to be reflected in the planning. Like most matters, building a strong foundation is key. Security personnel, whether full-time or part-time, must be properly trained. Too often we see campus security not involving themselves in situations because “they don’t want to get hurt”.
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NIRSA Webinar Training Modules: Fall 2012

May 10, 2012

Problem: Finding time to implement effective risk management training is a major challenge

Solution: Web-based training modules which provide flexibility and high quality training opportunities

Action: Incorporate the NIRSA Webinar Training Modules into your training program!

2012-2013 Highlights

  • 21 Webinar training modules (12 are NEW)
  • Individually priced — you choose only the ones(s) you want!
  • Reasonably priced — most are $50 – $75


  • Recorded Webinars are accessible at any time, on any laptop or desktop
  • Year-long access to Webinars allows consistent and ongoing training of full/part-time staff
  • Content is delivered by experts – saving staff time in preparing and delivering training material.

NIRSA Webinar Training Modules:

Level 5 In-service Training
Waivers Simplified
Medical Screening Simplified
Missing Persons Planning
Negligence Awareness for Intramural Staff
Negligence Awareness for Sport Club Officers
Negligence Awareness for Summer Camp Staff
Risk Management Committee
Climbing Wall Supervision
Event Planning Simplified

Updated Webinars
Negligence Simplified
The Nuts & Bolts of Risk Management Planning
Negligence Awareness Training for Part-time Student Staff (tracking option available)
Waivers Advanced
Safety Training for Sport Clubs Officers
Transportation: Planning Essentials
Travel Planning Tools using ‘Google Docs’
Emergency Action Plan — Putting it Together
Emergency Action Plan — Training, Rehearsals & Drills

General Information
Launch Date Mid-August, 2012
All Webinars Accessible at any time, on any computer, for whole academic year
Webinar length Varies: from 20-45 minutes
Target Audience Most Webinars target full-time staff
‘Negligence Awareness’ webinars target student staff and Sport Club Officers

More information coming soon!

Level 5 In-service Training

May 10, 2012

A Comprehensive System for Campus Recreation

Matthew D. Griffith, M.S., RCRSP
Georgia Institute of Technology

The practice of in-service training is critical to keeping your employees prepared to prevent injuries and respond to emergencies. Despite the fact that the importance of on-going training for staff has been almost unanimously agreed upon in some recreation program areas for years (e.g. aquatics), other areas are much further behind when it comes to in-service training. Employee in-service training programs can not only prevent skill erosion and improve emergency preparedness, but also facilitate individual employee development into contributing members of the community. That’s where the concept of Level 5 in-service training comes in. Developed by the author and Dr. Joseph Walker, it addresses observed deficiencies in current practices and maximizes the impact of staff participation. It will enhance the development of the individual and also function as a recruiting tool for future employees.
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So… you want to build a Climbing Wall

May 10, 2012

Heather Reynolds
Climbing and Outdoor Rec Program Coordinator
Dalhousie University

My enthusiasm for climbing was sparked when I was still a University student and I took a Sunday afternoon to go to a cliff with a coworker. After a brief introduction, away I went. As I tried to make my way up this sharp granite face, I can still recall the intense focus and physical challenge of the route. I also remember being so absorbed in the task that I did not notice being afraid. It was intense and incredibly empowering. With a handful of outdoor climbing opportunities, I was convinced that climbing was an amazing experience that everyone should have. Within a year, I was working diligently with Climb Nova Scotia (a not-for-profit organization), a few working professionals and the Dalhousie Department of Athletics and Recreation to get approval to install a climbing wall in the recreation facilities on campus. Through the process of this endeavor, however, many lessons were learned. And still more lessons became more apparent when I eventually returned to manage this wall, and a newer one in the same building. With the responsibility of administering a wall, I gained a new insight into the key elements in operating a safe and successful facility.

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Eagle C.A.R.E. — A Sport Club Concussion Management Program: Part 1

March 27, 2012

Bob Liebau
Associate Director of Campus Recreation
University of Mary Washington

Editor’s Note: In this two part series, the Eagle C.A.R.E Concussion Management Program is divided into two parts (a) Education and Baseline Testing and (b) Concussion Management & Assessment and Post Concussion Treatment Plan.

Concussions awareness has increased astronomically in recent years; professional ice hockey players and football players have become highly visible icons for the need for better understanding of the injury, management of the injury, and guideline for return-to-play decisions. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Athletic Trainers Association and other professional and medical organizations have established guidelines for concussion management. Concussions can be serious and potentially life threatening injuries. Research agrees that these injuries can have serious consequences later in life if not managed properly at the time of the initial injury. However, before going any further, it is important to understand what a concussion is.

A concussion is also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). The injury is caused by when there is a direct or indirect physical insult to the brain. As a result, impairment of mental functions such as memory, balance and equilibrium, and vision may occur. It is important to understand that many sport-related concussions do not result in a loss of consciousness. This predicates that all suspected head injuries must be taken seriously.

The Department of Campus Recreation at the University of Mary Washington realized a record number of reported concussions and one death (not a UMW student-athlete) during the 2010-11 academic years. This emphasized the importance of having an appropriate concussion management program to safeguard the well-being of all student-athletes participating in Sport Club Programs. The result is the Department of Campus Recreation’s Eagle CARE Concussion Management Program. The program was developed in collaboration with Mary Washington Healthcare/Mary Washington Hospital and its Neuroscience Center for Excellence.

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