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Safety Check | Incident Reporting

By Ron Bell

Safety Check | August 2020
Saturday, August 1, 2020

For more than a year now, USPA has been on a crusade to increase incident reporting, not only by instructors, but also by the everyday jumper. Why? First and foremost, incident reporting is critical to helping USPA understand what is actually happening in the field. This allows us to discover trends, address any issues promptly and make the sport safer.

Reporting increased in the past year, and we are continuing to advocate for it because it has an overall positive effect on our sport. Our members are telling us through social media, Zoom meetings and emails that they appreciate and are using the information that we’ve gathered from the reports.

Jumpers tend to share a lot of safety information around the bonfire. After a long day of jumping, they’ll have a beer and swap stories of close calls, cutaways and near-death experiences. In this way, students and newer jumpers often hear valuable lessons from their mentors and the emerging generation of skydivers avoids repeating the mistakes of the former generation. 

But alas, the bonfire generation has been slowly going up in smoke as small, rural, family-run drop zones have become larger, more urban organizations on busier airports. But regardless of whether you’re at a DZ where jumpers sit around until the wee hours telling cautionary tales or one where everyone packs up their gear and drives home once the sun goes down, you can pass on your stories to others through incident reporting. And the best part is that the reporting system can catch every story from all the bonfires. It also allows USPA to analyzes the data from those stories to come up with cold, hard facts, which Parachutist immortalizes in print so future generations can learn from it, as well. 

By taking the time to fill out an incident report, you are making a difference. It might seem like a little thing at the time, but when you multiply that by the hundreds of people making the same effort, it becomes a movement felt across our beloved sport.

You can find information about reporting incidents in Skydiver’s Information Manual Section 5-8 and can fill out an Incident Reporting Form online at uspa.org/ir. From the bottoms of our booties to the tops of our camera helmets, USPA is filled with gratitude for the extra effort our brothers and sisters under parachutes put forth to make this sport as safe as possible. 

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

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