Safety Day—traditionally held on the second Saturday in March—represents the beginning of a new season of skydiving. Whether you're from a northern drop zone that shuts down for the winter or you’re a fair-weather jumper from the south, you’ll soon catch yourself staring out the window listening to the birds sing, watching the trees bud and daydreaming of the jumping days ahead. If you’re like many jumpers across the country, you’ll start pulling out gear that has sat unused for months. Now is the time to check your data cards, dust off the electronics and charge the batteries. The 2019 season will soon be here.
For the approximately 180 DZs that participate around the world, Safety Day is the first significant event of the year. Many drop zones run specials on currency jumps, and most set up stations so jumpers can review their emergency procedures, practice gear checks, review canopy skills and participate in seminars to get their minds ready for the jumping season. Newer jumpers tend to flock to Safety Day in large numbers, but when was the last time you saw your instructors or staff practice their emergency procedures? Probably not often. USPA would like to see that change.
Safety Day is for Everyone
This year, USPA recommends that drop zones set up seminars and refresher training specifically for staff in addition to their regular Safety Day activities. This will show new jumpers not only how important it is to master skills but how vital it is to maintain them through repeated rehearsal throughout their jumping careers. USPA is currently in the process of adding a biannual-emergency-review requirement for renewing tandem instructors; adding an instructor-specific activity to Safety Day will put participating DZs ahead of the curve. After all, even after thousands of jumps and decades of experience, it's essential to reinforce muscle memory with actual practice. It’s time to step it up and make Safety Day about the whole community.
Safety Day lands on March 9 this year. (Some locations use an alternate date, so check with your local drop zone for details.) USPA tasks Safety and Training Advisors with organizing Safety Day, so check in with yours and volunteer to help with the event. Whether it is contacting vendors for swag, volunteering to provide a presentation or cooking dinner at the end of the day, Safety Day will only improve with help from volunteers.
Regardless of whether you help with the event or attend as a participant, the important thing is you make it a priority to get there. We can all learn something new, and Safety Day is a fun way to learn more and knock off the rust for another season of skydiving.
Resources for Event Organizers
Publicize Your Event
Don’t forget to register your event at uspa.org/safetyday. This list of participating drop zones helps jumpers find an event near them and informs them of the DZ’s alternate Safety Day date if it doesn’t fall on March 9. Submitting a listing also ensures that your DZ will be mentioned in the report on Safety Day in the May issue of Parachutist.
Recognize a Local Safety Leader
February 15 is the deadline to submit a jumper for the Chesley H. Judy Safety Award—a grassroots award that a DZ chooses to bestow on a local jumper who “through example, deed, training or innovation, has promoted safe skydiving in a substantive way.” This is a great way for your DZ to personally acknowledge someone’s safety contributions and encourage others to keep an eye on safety in the year to come. The S&TA and drop zone owner select a recipient for the award, and USPA mails the S&TA or DZO a certificate suitable for presentation. Send the name of the recipient, the name of the drop zone and the preferred mailing address to email@example.com.
Access Presentations and Handouts
USPA has a large number of presentations and handouts available at uspa.org/safetyday. In addition, USPA provides a virtual-reality malfunction video series created by Sigma at uspa.org/malfunctions (which presenters can use as a standard video or with a virtual-reality headset). These resources make it easy for event organizers to put together a useful Safety Day. Drop zones typically provide seminars on freefall safety, canopy control and landings, emergency procedures and aircraft safety, as well as specialty seminars on topics such as videography or wingsuit flying. This year, USPA encourages DZs to add a segment specifically for instructors that focuses on refresher training and continuing education.
Provide Some Swag
You can order T-shirts—in sport gray with the Safety Day logo—from Jumper Sportswear for just $4.50 each (add $2 for XXL) plus shipping. You can order as few or as many shirts as you would like. For orders of 12 or more shirts, drop zones can add their logos to the sleeves at $1.50 more per shirt. Many drop zones order the shirts in bulk as gifts for their local jumpers. Jumper Sportswear must receive your order no later than February 15 for events held on March 9 or at least three weeks in advance of your alternate event date. Contact Lynn Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (316) 264-1321 to place your order.
Get Recognized in Parachutist
A list of all participating drop zones, photos of the Ches Judy Award recipients, a report on any new or innovative ideas and a selection of the day’s best snapshots will appear in the May issue of Parachutist. Drop zones must submit reports and photos by March 19 to be considered for print publication. Submissions should be made via the form found at uspa.org/safetyday.