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New website launches for outdoor safety

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand wears the adventure tourism brand proudly. We’ve got "the goods" for any conceivable outdoor adventure on land, water or up in the air that New Zealanders and tourists alike enjoy, but our safety reputation has taken a bit of a hit recently.

Rule number two of the Outdoor Safety Code is to tell someone where you are going. Straight forward enough, except we’re not. The latest figures show that our casual Kiwi attitude has led to an increase in fatalities and search and rescue operations.

Due to launch 6 December is Safety Outdoors, providing a simple and effective new service. As the only safety check service in New Zealand for outdoors activity the company is committed to ensuring each and every person who signs up with them is accounted for. It is a simple, convenient and reliable system involving a free phone call, text or online registration beforehand and confirmation of finishing afterwards. It works because it doesn’t necessitate planning ahead and is available for any outdoors activity.

Safety Outdoors Director, Stuart Fraser says a major point of difference is that they are acting as the trusted outdoor contact for every booking.

"If we don’t hear from you within the registered time frame operators based in New Zealand, working in real time, follow a checking process with every contact point provided. If necessary, we can then notify the appropriate authority."

Fraser is confident the safety of tourists and kiwis in the outdoors will be improved significantly through what he describes as a unique service.

"We want New Zealanders to take this on board as part of their outdoors routine, and tourists to be fully aware of the service when travelling. We want to save lives and, in turn, reduce the rising cost of rescue operations."

As the Department of Conservation no longer accepts Outdoors Intentions forms at their visitor centres there is a critical lack of source information available for Search and Rescue efforts if required.

Concerned about the path DoC was taking led to Graeme Kates, previous Chair of local LandSAR, to resign from working for DoC in Arthur’s Pass. He has spoken publicly about the removal of the Outdoors Intentions forms.

"We are waiting for something bad to happen because there is almost no one using the system now provided [by DoC]. In late September I surveyed almost 100 people on local walking tracks and found not one of them had completed any type of outdoors intention notice - this was a mix of Kiwis and overseas visitors."

"The Safety Outdoors system is a good one that will definitely work as [did] the paper-based system used previously. By introducing the free phone or texts as a simple method for providing detail, and using real people who will scrutinise the information provided then act as the trusted contact, this is a good system that should work well for people who use it."

There are several options available for users of Safety Outdoors with the emphasis on not only registering yourself but also family and friends. The cost is per activity only, and involves everyone involved in your group, not per person, making this both an affordable and easy decision.

www.safetyoutdoors.com is due to go live on 6 December 2012.

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