As it planned for the 24th annual Safety Day, scheduled for March 14, USPA chose “Normalizing Excellence” as its theme. However, nothing was normal any longer when Safety Day rolled around and the coronavirus was relentlessly spreading across the globe. More than 45 percent of DZs postponed their events to a later date. Some DZs in areas not yet affected by the virus continued with their events. Others scrambled to hold online events.
A few DZs combined strategies: Cloud Chasers in Slidell, Louisiana, held a Safety Day conference using Zoom and rescheduled the hands-on portion of its event for a later date. Des Moines Skydivers in Winterset, Iowa, hosted Safety Day for about 25 people at the DZ but also streamed it on Facebook Live for another 25 who chose to stay home. Aerohio Skydiving Center in Ashland, Ohio, canceled its traditional Safety Day gathering, but five key staff members went to the DZ to produce a video featuring discussions of Safety Day topics and made the video available to jumpers at home. Dave Lepka, Safety and Training Advisor at Aerohio, remarked, “While it wasn’t a perfect solution, it was the best we could come up with on the short notice we had.” Undoubtedly, a lot of S&TAs can relate to that sentiment.
The following DZs planned to hold a Safety Day. Most were either postponed or held online. Since the situation surrounding the coronavirus and its effect on drop zones was still in flux at print time, jumpers should contact DZs directly about online or postponed Safety Day events. Jumpers may also visit uspa.org/safetyday to find USPA-produced materials.