Kuratau School

RISKS AND HAZARDS

Skiing and Snowboarding by its very nature involves certain risks.  In addition the unpredictable conditions that can occur on Mt Ruapehu make the activity an even more hazardous undertaking.  It is therefore important that everyone taking part in our programme be aware of these risks. Please take the time to familiarize yourself and your children with the following information.

Key dangers

Hypothermia  (refer to the PDF handout attachment as well as the information below)

Groups lost or separated

Avalanches

Sunburn

Exhaustion

Sprains and bruising

Cuts and broken bones

Defective equipment

Collision with other skiers

Lahars

Sports Wanganui prepared an excellent handout on hypothermia for all competitors in the primary School Ski Championships.  The relevant key points are repeated below:  

”Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops to a level where body function is impaired, usually below 35degrees C.  On Mt Ruapehu the three major factors causing hypothermia exists in abundance.  These are COLD, WET and WIND.  It is for this reason that all competitors and helpers should be aware of these issues and that all efforts are taken to avoid any unnecessary situations.  Other factors that may contribute to hypothermia are :

Lack of fitness

Recent injury or illness

Stopping after exercise

Wearing appropriate clothing layers to trap heat is one of the best ways to prevent hypothermia.  Fabrics like wools, polypropylene and fleece retain most of their insulating properties when wet.  Wet cotton (including denim) can suck the heat away from the body and should not be worn.     In cold, wet , windy  conditions cover  all exposed skin, with both wind and waterproof layers.  Don’t forget the extremities, head, neck and hands.  These areas of the body are susceptible to heat loss and need to be protected.  By wearing the correct clothing, not necessarily the most expensive, hypothermia can be prevented.  Although this is the most important way to prevent the condition from developing, it is not the only factor to consider.

Even when wearing the correct clothing it is still possible to develop hypothermia”

Assessment of Hypothermia   

A person with hypothermia will exhibit some or all of the following signs/symptoms:

Loss of muscular condition; they may stumble or fall.

Refusing to admit anything is wrong, showing apathy and lack of concern.

Slow though, slurred speech and appearance of drunkenness.

A character change; they may appear confused.

Slow signs of muscle stiffness.

They may remove clothing in the belief that they are hot.

They may have stopped shivering

  

Management of Hypothermia

Management of hypothermia focuses on the prevention of further heat loss and the gradual re-warming of the core.

Stop any exercise and treat the person very gently

Remove any damp clothing and replace with dry warm clothing.

Ensure that the person is out of the environment.

Lie the person down, place on a warm mattress.

Re- warm the core using warm objects such as hot water bottles.

Give warm (not hot) sweet fluids only if the person is conscious

PLEASE,  if any of the symptoms are present or if you suspect that someone may be even slightly hypothermic, contact a parent , teacher, ski instructor, or a member of the ski patrol immediately.