Safety Check | Awareness and Vigilance in Landing Areas
Safety Check | Jun 07, 2024
Safety Check | Awareness and Vigilance in Landing Areas

Ron Bell

Above: Photo by Laszlo Andacs.

Skydiving is inherently risky, with landing being one of the critical phases where vigilance can significantly mitigate potential injuries. While drop zones generally maintain their landing areas diligently, obstacles such as gopher holes can emerge overnight, making them a daily challenge to manage. Therefore, skydivers are also responsible for familiarizing themselves with their landing zones, especially in areas prone to unpredictable hazards.

It’s likely that some landing injuries are under-reported, particularly those caused by unforeseen obstacles. Skydivers, especially those who frequent drop zones where natural terrain can present sudden obstacles, should adopt proactive measures to inspect the landing area. Walking the landing zone personally or designating a trusted jumper to do so each morning can be an effective strategy to identify and mitigate risks posed by overnight changes in the terrain.

Moreover, fostering a culture of reporting and transparency about non-fatal accidents can enhance safety for everyone. Each shared experience or reported incident is valuable for building a collective understanding of potential risks and effective precautions.

In summary, while drop zones do their part in maintaining landing areas, skydivers must also take active steps to ensure their safety. Knowing the landing area, being vigilant about potential hazards and reporting any incidents are important practices. By combining these personal responsibilities with the ongoing efforts of drop zone operators, the skydiving community can work together to minimize risks and ensure a safer experience for everyone.

Ron Bell | D-26863
USPA Director of Safety and Training

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