Bit of an early Christmas present…

I received this message a couple of days ago – and must say that I was very moved by it.

The reason being that recently I have been questioning the relevance of the tree climbing comps. Are they after all merely a public service – or rather a service to the competitors – that all the volunteers involved in the event provide? Or are they part of a bigger picture, contributing something meaningful towards climbers’ culture within greater arboriculture?

My feeling has always been that above all, Aerial Rescue has the potential to be very meaningful, offering the opportunity to discuss and evaluate current issues and incidents and to formulate suitable responses.

At ETCC we have attempted over the years to distinguish between technical-based scenarios and others that are more patient handling-based, to then choose a scenario that is fitting for the trees available on the site with an emphasis either on the one aspect or the other. Also we have gone to considerable efforts to make the storylines coherent and logical, with the aim that people are not having to assume all sorts of things, but rather are being scored on their actual ability to take charge of a situation that is as close to a real-life incident as possible.

This year we had one casualty during AR in Monza: Ken, the rescue dummy’s lower leg dropped off after the morning of preliminary events, this called for a spot of quick surgery during lunch break…

Doctor Van Bowel doing a spot of field surgery, assisted by nurses Bridge and Künzler

Hearing about a volunteer being able to put skills acquired during such an event to use in real life is therefore immensely meaningful to me and validates all the time and effort invested into organizing and running these events.

Dates for next year’s ETCC in Prague, Czech Republic, have not yet been set, but in all likelihood it will be first weekend of July. We will start working towards the event in the new year with the Czech crew and will confirm location and exact dates as soon as possible.