Introduction of Emergency Contact Cards
As part of the clubs ongoing commitment to making trips as safe as possible, in 2020 it was agreed by the club committee that all paddlers, whether on a club trip or a peer trip, SHOULD CARRY 2 EMERGENCY CONTACT CARDS. If you own you own buoyancy aid then we suggest one is permanently attached to your buoyancy aid (or carried on your person if you don’t own a buoyancy aid), and the other available to be handed to the trip leader FOR EMERGENCY USE DURING THE TRIP – this will be returned at the end of the trip.
Consider the unlikely (but entirely possible) scenario of you requiring medical attention on a trip, especially if loss of consciousness were involved. Many of us who kayak really only know our companions in the kayaking environment by first name and may know very little else about them should the need arise to provide details / contact partners. For a trip leader standing on the shore before putting in, trying to note down names, emergency contact details etc before paddling is time consuming, prone to error and not always appreciated by those participating. However, for a trip leader not to have that information in the event of an incident is not good practice / acceptable. Emergency contact cards will ensure that important information is available if required.
[From a data protection point of view the system works well in that your personal information is returned to you at the end of the trip and neither discarded on a piece of note paper or stored on PC’s.]
We have prepared an Emergency Contact Card template, along with a completed example. Please make 2 copies of the card by adding your details, laminating them (each one twice) and we suggest cable tieing one to the inside of your buoyancy aid (inside a pocket or lining is good). The other card should be available to hand to the trip leader for the duration of the trip.
Leaving a a section of laminate without any paper will let you punch a hole without the laminated paper getting soggy. A photo or using a colour printer is not mandatory. A laser printer is less likely to be affected by moisture. We have prepared 2 templates: one if you are happy to simply fold the paper over the other if you prefer to print double sided.
If you do not have access to a laminator then most high street print shops provide this service for a nominal sum. If still struggling then you can ask for help by emailing your completed template to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and they can print, laminate and returned to your home address on the card.
Other Safety Information and Advice
ICE on your mobile phone contacts list
Emergency services advise all mobile phone users to create in their contacts list an ‘ICE’ entry (In case of emergency) with emergency contact details. This helps paramedics contact relatives for medical consent/ information etc.
Universal 999 from mobile phones
Also be aware that 112 is the best emergency number to use from a mobile phone- it operates regardless of signal/network/ credit/locked key pad etc, and goes direct to a LOCAL 999 switchboard (as opposed to a National one if you dial 999 on a mobile). This is important where local knowledge may be needed to get help to you.
Mark Your Boat and Paddles (including spare splits)
It is also recommended by the coastguard that all kayaks / paddles have the owner’s name and telephone details written on the inside of the cockpit – this avoids searches triggered by finding a boat with no paddler- an email or phone call can establish if someone is missing or not (a 2019 Forth estuary area search cost £30k due to vandals dumping a kayak into the sea – lack of contact details meant there was no option but to search for a possible casualty).