Understanding the Club’s response to a major incident [72]

By Michael Steinfeld

In the event of a serious incident where members’ lives were put at jeopardy or outside authorities were called in to assist, the President will initiate the process set out below for the purposes of highlighting the event to prevent similar events in the future.

(This process does not apply in the event of a serious personal injury, which may give rise to a claim, as the insurance company will determine the level of reporting.)

  1. As soon as practical after the incident all participants should write their own account of events including a timeline so that events can be understood chronologically. (Preferably within 24 hours)
  2. The Trips Coordinator saves the Bureau of Meteorology forecast for the day and 72 hour observations from AWS positions immediately north and south of the incident.
  3. The Trips Coordinator saves Manly Hydraulics Laboratory wave data from the nearest buoy for the same period.
  4. Once all versions are collected the group meets with the President or club delegate/s to attempt to produce a version of events that all participants accept as a fair and balanced account.
  5. With regard to conflicting accounts, no attempt is made to decide which version is correct, but instead evidence for each position is presented.
  6. If the group can’t reach consensus then key points of disagreement are highlighted in the report.
  7. Refusal to participate in the writing of the report is also highlighted.
  8. The rescuing authority/ies and any other interested agencies are invited to comment and their reports are requested.
  9. If the paddlers wish to remain anonymous in reports for publication also be respected and their name deleted.
  10. The President or a delegate assembles these accounts against a timeline and highlights lessons learnt and refers the matter to the Technical and Safety Committee. The TSC will report to the President on the likely causes of the incident and how it can be avoided in the future.
  11. The paddler in charge of the group during the incident is given the opportunity to comment on the TSC findings but has no editorial control over the rest of the article content.