The High Q group of companies have approved IRATA training facilities in Australia, the UK and Japan. The COVID pandemic is likely to significantly disrupt our lives for several months, and I wanted to share some of the different experiences we’re facing around the globe, and the different government advice and conditions that we must meet.
Japan were one of the earliest countries to be affected, but they were very quick to advise the population to practice social distancing. Asia has previous experience with dealing with viruses such as SARS, and this experience together with a high level of public compliance has meant that the social distancing measures have been very effective, and in Japan life is carrying on with relatively far less disruption. Workplaces operate as normal, including schools, restaurants and hotels, and High Q Japan continue to run the scheduled courses.
In the UK, the governement advised various social distancing measures, similar to measures that have been effective in Japan, but for various reasons, these measures were not initially effective in the UK, and to prevent the situation following that of Italy and Spain, the UK is now largely in lockdown. As a result, High Q UK have suspended courses.
In Australia, early indications are that the quicker government escalation of measures together with the news coverage of the situation in Europe, has seen the Australian population compliance with the measures improve, and thankfully it appears to be having the hoped for effect. We have made changes to our course programme in Australia, but are continuing to deliver our IRATA training.
In Australia we are following advice from the federal government and the Queensland government, and are also following the World Health Organisation advice as our starting point to minimise the risk to our candidates and training staff. To that end, here’s what we’ve done, and are now doing:
All software (harnesses and cowstails) are laundered after every course, and helmets soaked in dilute disinfectant. In addition we have now deep cleaned all hardware by soaking in diluted bleach solution, and then rinsing.
Our bathroom facilities are already cleaned each day with bleach. This will be done twice a day. Further, all surfaces including tables, worktops, bathrooms, have been deep cleaned with diluted bleach solution, and will be further disinfected each day.
We are removing all cups and glasses, and all fabric towels.
Disposable cups are being supplied, and disposable towels.
Disinfectant surface spray and wipes are widely available for daily cleaning of all hardware and surfaces.
Class sizes are being reduced to facilitate social distancing, and we have removed ropes so that the 4 metre square social distancing is observed at all times.
Additional dummies have been lent to us by our friends at 5th Point so that all training can be done without person to person rescues.