During the winter months, parents may be concerned about the safety and warmth of their child during their time with us. However, we put their concerns to rest through the numerous safety measures put in place to keep clients away from any danger during the winter season.
Keeping clients safe in the winter
Throughout the winter months, we keep clients dry, warm and safe. Some safety measures we take during the winter months include:
- Access to heated structures: Our base camps have propane heated yurts and wood-heated wall tents with bunk bed cots to keep clients warm and up off the ground. Groups sleep in a heated structure every night.
- No hiking in extreme winter conditions: If the temperature dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, groups do not move camp or hike until the temperature exceeds 20 degrees.
- Layering of gear: We make sure clients are wearing proper attire including gloves, hats, neck gaiters, polypro bottoms and tops, a dry fit top, mid-layers, work pants, teddy top and bottoms, puffy jackets, and other layers in case of rain. Their gear includes a sleeping bag rated for -20 degree weather which is much colder than we’ve ever experienced in our area of operation.
- Access to a heat source: Our clients always have access to a heat source. Yurts have propane stoves, wall tents have wood stoves, we have the wood already chopped and available for fire pits and many clients heat water for their Nalgene bottles and carry them between clothing as an extra heat source.
- Toasty toes and fingers: We provide all clients with wool mittens, work gloves, over-mitts, wool socks, hiking boots, and over-boots. Starting each day with dry socks is key to self-care. Three times a day, we conduct checks on hands and feet to make sure they are warm and dry.
- Seasonal diet: In the winter months clients have a higher calorie diet with energy-producing foods. Throughout the day, we offer clients tea and hot chocolate.
- Vehicle safety and access to groups: All vehicles have safety kits, spare tires, snow chains. All staff are trained on how to change the tires and use snow chains before they’re allowed to drive blueFire vehicles. We have snowmobiles and snowcats available for the rare occasion they may be needed.
- Exercise and playfulness: There is an emphasis on warm-up exercises, blood circulation and body temperature during the winter weather months.
- Weekly health assessment: Our field medic keeps close tabs on health information on clients in the field. Every week, clients undergo a health assessment that checks vitals such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature, respiration, and hydration. This helps us keep track of our clients’ overall health.
- Staff members with Wilderness First Responder certification: One staff member per group is certified in Wilderness First Response. This includes in-depth knowledge of winter-related injuries. Instructors review winter protocols prior to each shift.