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Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs

Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs


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    Based on real-life experiences, Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs: Scenarios of Accidents, Incidents, and Misadventures offers both students and professionals practice in applying risk management strategies to situations encountered in outdoor and adventure programs.

    Written by Aram Attarian, an experienced professor and professional in outdoor and adventure recreation, Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs presents a systematic model for determining why an incident happened and what could be done to prevent a repeat occurrence. More than 50 real-life scenarios represent various situations encountered in outdoor and adventure programming, such as peanut allergies, bridge jumping, stalking by mountain lions, and lightning strikes. These scenarios offer guidance in analyzing hazardous situations and applying appropriate strategies in safety and risk management. Each scenario is followed by questions that can guide discussion or promote research in concepts or policies that are important to outdoor and adventure programming.

    Accidents and mishaps are a reality in outdoor and adventure programs. Applying risk management strategies to the scenarios in Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs gives outdoor adventure leaders increased knowledge of the inherent risks of their profession as well as their legal responsibilities in programming, leadership, and management. This text can help leaders and their participants enjoy safe and successful adventures in the great outdoors.


    Primary text for undergraduate outdoor and adventure courses. Supplemental text for courses on the technical, programming, and leadership aspects of outdoor and adventure recreation. Reference for outdoor and adventure program leaders as well as K-12 teachers.

    Table of Contents

    Scenario Finder

    Chapter 1. Introduction to Risk Management
    Risk Management Models
    Incident Countermeasures
    Emergency Action Plans

    Chapter 2. Risk Management Legal Terms and Concepts
    Tort Law
    Due Diligence
    Duty to Warn

    Chapter 3. Program Staff and Participants
    Instructors and Guides
    Staff Training
    Program Participants

    Responding to Emergencies
    Open-Toed Shoes
    Returning Staff
    Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
    Peanut Allergy
    Lost Student
    Poor Route Finding
    Staying on Schedule
    Solo Instructing
    Medical History Can Make a Difference
    Inappropriate Physical Contact
    Waterfall Presents a Danger
    Bridge Jumping
    Client Injured While Rafting
    Summit Attempt
    Outing Turns Tragic
    Injury on the Challenge Course
    Day Hike Turns Into Overnight
    Training Exercise Goes Wrong
    Demonstration Goes Wrong
    Lost Kayakers
    Instructors Charged With Murder

    Chapter 4. Environmental Conditions
    Minimizing Objective Dangers

    Scout Leaders Say They Got No Warning
    Lightning Strikes Climbers
    Lightning Strikes Campers
    Man Struck by Lightning on Solo Hike
    Excessive Heat Can Kill
    Avalanche Kills Skiers
    Mountain Lion Stalks Group
    Black Bear Problem
    Smile for the Camera
    Snake Bite
    Proceed With Caution When River Crossing
    Student Drowns in a Stream Crossing
    Drowning in a Forest Pool
    Student Drowns After Jumping Into Backcountry Swimming Hole
    Rescue Teams Save Church Group
    Open Canoes Over Open Water

    Chapter 5. Technology
    Technology and Adventure and Guided Programs
    Nontechnical and Technical Equipment
    Personal Protection Equipment
    Equipment Logistics

    Stranded Hiker Uses Personal Locator Beacon to Summon Help
    Hikers Evacuated After Three SPOT Activations in Three Days
    Anchor Fails, Student Sues
    Fall From Climbing Wall
    Instructor’s Inattention Blamed for Student’s Death
    Repair Kits Can Be Deadly
    Automated External Defibrillator in the Woods
    Stove Fueling Incident Causes Serious Burns
    Boiling Water Fills Boot
    Boiling Water Scalds

    Chapter 6. Transportation
    Fifteen-Passenger Vans
    Transportation Alternatives
    Controlling Transportation Risk

    Narrow Road Proves to Be a Challenge
    Road Conditions Create Problem for Van Driver
    Tripping Incident
    Icy Road Conditions
    Trailer Towing Presents Risks
    No Brakes

    About the Author

    About the Author

    Aram Attarian, PhD, is an associate professor in the department of parks, recreation, and tourism management at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He is the owner of the risk management consultation firm and serves as the director of the National State Park Leadership School.

    Attarian has over 30 years of experience in adventure education and outdoor leadership working with a range of individuals and settings, including adjudicated youth, college and university programs, businesses, camps, and Outward Bound. His most significant experiences have been with North Carolina Outward Bound (NCOB), where he worked as an instructor, climber, and course director for over 25 years.

    Currently, Attarian serves on the NCOB board of directors and chairs its safety committee. He is also a member of the American Alpine Club Safety Advisory Council and is a regional contributor to Accidents in North American Mountaineering. In his free time, Attarian enjoys rock climbing, outdoor living, and working on his hobby farm in western North Carolina. He resides in Raleigh.