Several volunteers have completed the American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI) Wilderness First Aid course. The 16-hour class includes instruction on patient assessment, bandaging and splinting, wound management and environmental hazards. There is a balance of lecture and hands on practice that cumulates in a realistic scenario to test the students’ abilities.
Event organizers always have safety as their number one priority. The race works closely with the park officials insure compliance with rules and regulations and to coordinate patrol activities. Rangers are standing by at all times before, during and after the event to pitch in as needed for any emergency.
Communications & Safety
Mobile phone service in the desert is sketchy at best and land lines are few and far between. Organizers turn to a dedicated group to solve the communication problem – volunteer amateur radio operators from The Big Bend Amateur Radio Club, Hill Country REACT and San Antonio Repeater Organization.
These amateur radio operators (ham’s) are at every aid station, the start, the finish, camp headquarters and roaming the course. They keep tabs on runners as they progress, and can call for help the minute a problem is reported.
Hill Country REACT, San Antonio Repeater Organization and the Big Bend Amateur Radio Club are part of vital network of amateur radio operators around the world. They provide emergency communication in times of disaster and trained eyes on the ground as weather spotters during severe storms. In many disasters, ham operators are the first and most trusted links to the outside world.
The hams who participate in the remote events are there to keep the race as safe as possible and to train for future events where their help may be needed. These amateur radio groups have websites. They offer training, support, activities and a host of other services for amateur radio operators and those interested in becoming a ham.
Safety is the first priority, and scores of people work on the front lines and in the background to keep the event safe and fun.