Emergency Response Drills

December 08, 2011

A Vital Component in your Training Plan

Rich Bricker
Facilities Coordinator – RecSports
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

At the University of Tennessee RecSports department the Facilities and Aquatics program areas are involved in running drills on their staff. As a result of a fatal cardiac arrest in 2007 and a near drowning in 2009 both of these program areas decided to add more hands-on training to the current emergency response plan in the form of drills. For the purposes of UT RecSports, a drill is a scenario in which student workers are placed in a false crisis in order to practice emergency response procedures. These situations take place in various locations throughout all RecSports facilities.

The following article contains two parts: practical drills and research. The first section deals with our drill program, and the article explains the approach that the University of Tennessee RecSports program takes to ensure that our manager level staff has practical experience in dealing with emergency situations. By using a drill scenario, we believe that we are getting as close to a “real life” crisis as possible. In the second section, the article explains some of the research that was performed using the RecSports Facilities managers. We wanted to determine if running drills affected the self-reported level of confidence that the managers felt when dealing with emergency situations.

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How Accessible are You?

December 08, 2011

An examination of the 2010 ADA Standards

Lexi Christoules-Chaput
Assistant Director, Informal Sports & Student Personnel
Indiana University

Ira Wrestler
Assistant Director, Aquatics and Safety
University Recreation
Central Michigan University

On July 26th, 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. The law would prove to be a huge victory for Americans with disabilities in gaining equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. In celebrating the 20 anniversary of the act, the Department of Justice revised regulations and the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design were signed into law, and the revisions are sure to impact campus recreation facilities nationwide.

Below is a brief history of the act got to where it is today
1968 — Architectural Barriers Act (ABA)- First act put into place defining access standards
1990 — Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
1991 — Access Board publishes ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and Department of Justice signs into law
2002 — ADAAG is revised (adopted in 2004) — this is the first time recreation facilities are mentioned
2010 — ADAAG Standards for Accessible Design is created and signed into law

There are two major parties involved in the creation, implementation and enforcement of ADA standards and laws. The first party is The Access Board, an independent Federal agency created in 1973 to ensure access. It operates with 28 full time staff members. Half (14) of the representatives are appointed from most Federal departments, and the other 14 members are appointed by the president to a four-year term, a majority of whom must have a disability. The board is responsible for creating standards that are adopted by others, maintaining design criteria and providing technical assistance and training. This is the group who deals with standards for all new construction and can and should be contacted for consultation when facility planning is being done. This responsibility falls mainly with the architect of the facility, but the organization managing the facility after completion can also contact the Access Board with questions.

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Preparing for this year’s Youth Camps Program

November 23, 2011

New Year, New Resolutions

Amy Lanham
Senior Assistant Director
Campus Recreation
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Many administrators and/or programmers approach the New Year with the same thoughts.
This year …

  • I will be prepared
  • I will be organized
  • I will feel confident my programs are offered safely

Maybe not everyone lists the last objective, but the SportRisk ‘Youth Camps Online Course’ will provide those professionals administrating a youth camp program, summer or otherwise, a sense of confidence.

Whether you are a newcomer to camp operations or a veteran camp administrator, the Youth Camps Online Course presents materials in a unique fashion – an audit based approach which tells you how well you are doing in all aspects of your program. The planning skills you’ll learn, and the extensive resources offered are designed to give you that peace of mind when the first day of camp arrives.

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Managing Risk in Club Sports Events

November 23, 2011

Kate Durant
Club Sports Program Coordinator
Student Activities
University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut has made it a requirement for student organizations planning special events, and Club Sports organizations to have risk management pre-planning meetings. This initiative was brought forth by our department ‘Risk Management Committee’ and through conversations with the university risk manager. Student Clubs’ events were getting bigger and more organized and students were coming forth to their advisors with more questions.

In these planning meetings with student officers, we define ‘Risk’ as an activity or event that can be a hazard or source of danger; something that may ultimately affect the outcome of their event. We talk about how Risk Management is the process of considering the potential and perceived risks involved in student organizations. It includes monitoring organization activities and taking both corrective action and proactive steps to minimize accidental injury and/or loss. We encourage Clubs to play out possible situations and discuss what controls can be taken to avoid or manage those risks at their events.
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Managing the Risks of Special Events

November 23, 2011

A New Online Course

Joe Risser CPCU, ARM-P
Risk Management Design
San Luis Obispo

Over the past few years, Special Events have transformed into a big issue for many Campus Recreation Administrators. Due to budget challenges, more and more departments are capitalizing on the potential to lease their multiple and diverse facilities – by renting to outside groups and/or staging or hosting their own events. This expansion in operations has been accompanied by the realization that running a large concert in the gym is quite different from organizing the Intramural Basketball Championship game!

Events can be ‘special’ based upon the content, participants, sponsors, venue, funding or other factors. These events may involve renting multiple fields to the city for a soccer tournament, hosting the University Graduation Ceremonies in the fieldhouse, or running a large fundraising dance in the arena. Special events are often beyond the scope of the University’s “day-to-day” activities, requiring exceptional efforts and resources. Critical to the management of events and the risks involved is ownership of the event and/or the venue.

Impacts on the normal operations of the Campus Recreation department, the outside community, and immediate ‘neighbors’ may be significant (or benign) and range from cancellation of gym space displacing regular user groups (e.g. Intramurals), to issues such as overflow parking onto neighborhood streets, amplified sound during outdoor events, and maybe even a surprise fireworks finale.

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The Uncertainty Factor in Risk Management

November 23, 2011

Kneejerk Reactions Do More Harm Than Good

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

Hearing the words “high dive” evokes strong memories and great stories from many adults. It was almost a right-of-passage at the local pool. Unfortunately, there are not many 3-meter diving boards left in North America, and today’s kids will not have that terrorizing, yet exhilarating experience of their first jump from ten feet. The removal of diving boards is indicative of a spreading and disturbing phenomenon in risk management, the unsubstantiated elimination of programs and activities resulting from kneejerk reactions and poor analysis.

To be an effective risk manager, it is necessary to have an appropriate working definition of risk. The problem is that there is no agreed upon definition of risk, in fact, a quick internet search produced at least 25 different definitions. While realizing that risk does indeed have different meanings in different applications and industries, a good general definition for use in recreational risk management is the probability of a hazard to lead to a loss. It is critical to understand that “risk” is the probability, which can be measured and quantified.

In addition to understanding the definition of risk, a thorough understanding of the difference between risk and uncertainty is important to a risk manager’s success. Uncertainty is not the same as risk, it is inherently immeasurable. With risk, the odds are known, or at the least, there is information and data that can be used to quantify it. This is the case with the lottery, although someone who buys a Mega Millions ticket may not know the odds of winning, it can be calculated using available information. With uncertainty though, the odds, by definition, cannot be known. Differentiating between risk and uncertainty underscores the many challenging decisions a risk manager must make.

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