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Safety on Day Walks

Also see Risk Management.

  • Medical condition? - If so inform the Leader before the walk of any medical condition which may affect you, and advise of the appropriate treatment if it might be required during the walk.
  • Individual responsibility - The safety of the group is the responsibility of each individual. Be aware of others, especially in difficult situations.
  • Keeping together - Be aware of who is walking in front and behind you, and keep them in sight. Pass a message forward to the Leader at once if anyone drops behind. (But don’t walk so close to the person in front that you risk being hit in the face with a branch that springs back, and beware of swinging walk poles!)
  • Separated from the group? - If you are not sure where the rest of the group is, stop and shout. If no answer, blow your whistle in groups of three blasts and listen for a response. Either stay where you are, or move a short distance to an obvious clearing - don’t wander further into the unknown.
  • Struggling to keep up? - If you are finding the pace too hard, or are otherwise in difficulty, stop and advise the “tail-end Charlie”. Don’t wait until you are exhausted.
  • Calls of nature - Naturally, toilet stops are likely, but do not drop back behind the “tail-end Charlie” without advising of your intention to leave the group.
  • Snakes alive! - Watch out for snakes when walking - especially in warm weather. Adequate protection (e.g. long trousers/gaiters) is recommended especially when walking off-track. Also see information on snakebite prevention and  first aid on this site.
  • Ticks - Ticks are often encountered in W.A.’s bush. To reduce the chance of picking up a tick wear light-coloured clothing so you can spot and remove them quickly. Apply suitable insect repellent and avoid brushing up against foliage when possible. Also see more information on tickbite prevention and treatment on this site.
  • Campfires - Think carefully before lighting fires. Be aware of the weather conditions and Fire Regulations and check that the ashes from the fire are COLD before departing.

Transport

  • Paying your way - When travelling in someone else’s vehicle, you must pay your way. Please do not wait to be asked for your cash contribution. It is expected that passengers will share the fuel costs between them and ensure the amount contributed is appropriate considering not only the driver’s cost of fuel, but also the driver’s general costs of maintaining a car. Where vehicles are involved in a car shuttle, a small additional contribution should be offered.
  • Travelling in convoy? - Each driver in the convoy must make sure they take note of the convoy vehicles immediately in front and behind. At all turn-offs, wait until the driver behind indicates that they are aware of your intentions.

Bush Hygiene & Bush Etiquette

  • Litter - All litter must be removed from the bush. This includes fruit peelings, plastic, foil, etc. Please remove all traces of your presence. If you carried it in, also carry it out!
  • Toilet wastes - including toilet paper, are to be properly buried between 150-200mm (6-8") deep - not just covered by rocks or leaves. Always ensure that your toilet stops are at least 100 metres from any water source and the rest of the group.
  • Dieback Disease - To help limit spread of Dieback Disease in the bush, clean mud and gravel, etc. from your boots or shoes before attending a walk.
  • Mobile phones - Preferably switch your phone to silent or turn it off. If you feel a need to leave your phone on make sure it has a subtle non-intrusive ring-tone or put it on vibrate mode.
  • Walker ‘n talker? – Everyone walks for their own reasons. Some like to chat while others enjoy the quietness of the forest. Most of our members are reasonably sociable types, but if you are a prolific talker, consider that not everyone may want to hear your voice all day.
  • Sorry, no pets! - For environmental and safety reasons, pets are not permitted on Club activities.
  • Minimum impact - See the Club's guidelines for minimising your impact on our bushwalking environment.

Does the club's Personal Accident Insurance policy cover transport by ambulance?

This is a complex topic as ambulance service arrangements, including charging of fees for ambulance transport, varies from state to state.

If you are a resident of Queensland or Tasmania and require ambulance transport in your home state, you will not generally be charged a fee. If you are a resident of any of the other states or territories, transport by ambulance will typically result in a fee being charged. This would also apply to residents of Queensland and Tasmania who require ambulance transport in another state or territory.

As many activities undertaken by bushwalkers often occur in remote areas, ambulance transport following an injury or illness could involve long distances resulting in a fee amounting to many thousands of dollars.

Under the ‘Payment of non-Medicare Medical Expenses’ provisions of the Personal Accident policy, the cost of ambulance travel following an injury while engaged in an approved activity can be claimed. However, under the policy compensation for such benefits is limited to 80% of expenses incurred to a maximum of $3,000, and therefore the cost of ambulance transport would likely exceed this limit, especially if other non-Medicare medical costs are to be claimed.

Some private health insurance funds also provide cover for ambulance transport, however typically these include exclusions and/or caps on the amounts payable. Before relying on such cover, confirm that it provides sufficient cover should ambulance transport be required while on a bushwalk.

Bushwalking Australia strongly recommends that:

  1. Bushwalkers in NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, NT and the ACT take out
    ambulance service membership in their home state. Membership will also provide cover while interstate.
  2. Bushwalkers from Tasmania or Queensland visiting and walking in the other states and
    territories should consider travel insurance that covers ambulance transport.
  3. You check the web site of your state ambulance service for comprehensive information on this topic.