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New ‘Adventure Buddy’ System: Keep Outdoors Adventures Safe

New ‘Adventure Buddy’ System Aims To Help Keep Outdoors Adventurers Safe

Media release from the NZ Mountain Safety Council,19 December 2012

The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council is pleased to announce that the new ‘Adventure Buddy’ outdoors intentions service has been approved by New Zealand’s outdoors safety agencies.

Adventure Buddy is a free monitored outdoor intentions service provided by Adventure Gear Hire in Nelson. Before heading out on a trip, outdoors enthusiasts simply complete an online form with details of their trip including where they are going, who is going with them, what equipment they are carrying and a time and date when they due back.

This service could be especially useful for international visitors or tourists visiting New Zealand who do not necessarily have a trusted contact in New Zealand or someone immediately available overseas.

If the user hasn’t checked in by the due date and time, then the system notifies the Adventure Buddy team who then attempt to get in touch with the user and their registered contact persons. If the missing person(s) still cannot be located then the Adventure Buddy team will raise the alert directly with the New Zealand Police. This includes providing them with the intentions information that was originally submitted by the user(s) to assist in locating and rescuing them quicker if something has gone wrong.

Adventure Buddy was created by George Turner and Don Schwass, directors of Adventure Gear Hire in Nelson who between them have more than 60 years’ experience tramping, camping, and bushcraft, and over 30 years’ experience in search and rescue activities.

‘While we recognised that other mechanisms exist to ‘tell someone’ we wanted to provide a free monitoring system to provide outdoor enthusiasts the added peace of mind that someone is watching out for them and will raise the alarm if they become overdue,’ says Schwass.

‘We believe that undertaking safety precautions are a critical part of outdoor activities, so we designed Adventure Buddy to provide the best quality information to Search and Rescue if it is required. This supports the safety messages and recommendations of the Outdoor Safety Code,’ added Turner.

After launching the service in July 2011, Turner and Schwass then sought official accreditation from outdoor safety agencies by applying to become an approved outdoors intentions provider on the Adventuresmart.org.nz website.

All approved providers have to submit to rigorous testing of process and procedures by the outdoors intentions steering committee which consists of Police, Rescue Coordination Centre NZ, Land Search and Rescue, Department of Conservation, NZ Search and Rescue and the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council.

In addition all these agencies endorse New Zealand’s Outdoor Safety Code which is a set of five simple rules to help those going into the outdoors to plan and prepare before heading out on a land-based adventure. Rule two of the code urges people to ‘tell someone’ your plans, where you are going and what date and time to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned.

Since the launch of AdventureSmart.org.nz in 2010, inevitably new players have appeared including some ‘pay to use’ services which incorrectly claim to be the only safety check service in New Zealand. However, outdoors enthusiasts can have peace of mind by choosing an online outdoors intentions service that appears on the AdventureSmart.org.nz and know that it has been thoroughly tested and accredited.

Mountain Safety Council, Chief Executive Darryl Carpenter said ‘We don’t mind which mechanism people use whether their personal version, an established tramping club system, Facebook or social media or the tried and tested methods included on the Adventuresmart.org.nz website such as Adventure Buddy or Roughplan, so long as people tell someone’.

‘The key messages this summer is get out into the outdoors and have a great time, plan and prepare by using the outdoor safety code as a guide and make sure you ‘tell someone’ your trip intentions BEFORE you head off on your adventure, as it may save your life if something unexpected happens,’ added Carpenter.

More information regarding outdoors intentions and approved providers can be found www.adventuresmart.org.nz

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www.mountainsafety.org.nz I www.avalanche.net.nz l www.adventuresmart.org.nz

The New Zealand Outdoor Safety Code:

1. Plan your trip
Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take. Department of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Centres, i-SITEs and local operators are a good source of local information.

2. Tell someone
Tell someone your plans and complete written Outdoors Intentions BEFORE leaving on your trip. There are tools that make it easy on the www.adventuresmart.org.nz website. At the very least, tell a friend or family member where you are going and date and time to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned.

3. Be aware of the weather
New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes. Check track and hut conditions. Beware of rivers – if in doubt STAY OUT.

4. Know your limits
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience. Take a Mountain Safety Council course.

5. Take sufficient supplies
Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication such as a Mountain Radio or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and know how to use them.

ENDS

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