incident response

The Spring Meeting is in the air…

It’s prime season for goggle tans, bluebird days and epic powder. Spring is here!

And while there is still plenty of time for powder turns — whew! — at HeliCat we are always reviewing and planning to keep our industry leading the way with best practices.

Learning from shared experiences and exploring new trends is the key purpose of HeliCat’s annual Spring Meeting, scheduled for May 1, 2017 in Penticton, BC.

Safety and wildlife

The day is jam-packed with informative sessions to help the industry discover and improve for the future. With a primary focus on safety and species-at-risk, a variety of speakers will be on hand to offer insight.

Sessions include:

  • An update on the SFU Incident Database research project

  • Reviewing the 2016-17 winter season

  • Discussion around safety management in the HeliCat industry, with a focus on aviation

  • Impact of snowcats and helicopters on species-at-risk

The social side

While the day is full of meetings, the evening is the chance to reconnect with industry members. Join us for a wine tasting and Accreditation presentation as we recognize some of our colleagues for their hard work.

Register today for the Spring Meeting, and check out the accommodation rates for HeliCat operators.

See you May 1st!

-HeliCat Canada

Special project: tracking the industry safety record

Safety in the HeliCat sector is a cornerstone of the association and the industry it serves. One of the most significant concerns expressed by industry in HeliCat’s 2016 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment stated, “…without reporting, we have no way to monitor and track the safety record of the industry.”

Taking a huge step forward to address this issue, HeliCat has partnered with Simon Fraser University (SFU) and Mitacs Canada for an Incident Database and Sector Risk Project. The $15,000 research project will not only develop a secure online database for storing detailed incident information, but will also incorporate historical data to provide an accurate risk assessment.

“While we have a decent understanding of the risks associated with avalanche involvements in helicopter and snowcat skiing, there is little quantitative information available about the risks associated with other hazards,” explains Ian Tomm, Executive Director of HeliCat Canada. “This study will start to address the knowledge gap.”

The research project aims to collect as much information as possible about historic incidents associated with all types of hazard (e.g., avalanches, tree wells, cravasses, vehicles, etc.) in an effort to clearly assess the risk factors at play.

“After compiling information from all sources that are publicly available, such as avalanche accident books and Transport Canada reports, we are now working with individual HeliCat operators  to collect more detailed incident data,” explains Pascal Haegeli, University Research Chair in Avalanche Risk Management at SFU. “We’ve had lots of interest from operators and we are looking forward to working together with them on the data collection process as the season starts to wind down.”

The initial research project concludes in June 2017 and full findings will be presented at the HeliCat AGM in September.

HeliCat Canada invests more than $100,000 annually on research and special projects for the industry.

-HeliCat Canada