Monday, August 27, 2007

ISA HK/China --- Latest Aerial Rescue techniques from 2007 ISA International Conference in Hawaii

Dear Station Members,

One of the missions of the delegation from our Station to the 2007 ISA International Conference was to bring back the latest knowledge & techniques from international researchers. While the other candidates focused on various topics in arboriculture, the Station Manger paid heavy emphasis on Tree Climbing & mingled with the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC) competitors & judges to learn the latest equipment & techniques. Aerial Rescue is one such area which is constantly under development in Europe & America. Nearly every time the Station Manager would hear something new from the practitioners by attending a conference on this topic.

Tree Work is very dangerous indeed. In North America, arboriculture is a profession with an average annual fatality rate about 10 times the all-industrial average. More tree workers are killed every year than Firemen & Police put together in the USA. In HK, tree work accidents are not specifically classified by the authorities. However, from hearsay among contractors & supervisors, nearly every company will have tree workers injured on ground or on tree in every season at work. What is not cooked up by the media does not mean it does not happen in reality.

In the Western world, all Tree Climbers are required to learn Aerial Rescue as a protocol as part of their working duty. In the past, most training would encourage the rescuer to bring down the victim from the tree as soon as possible, thinking that this would save life faster. However, recent research has shown that by doing so, the victim may actually become more injured in the process since most rescuers are not medical expert to make judgment on injury, or the Fire Service would find the rescuer getting in the way for their trained procedures, therefore delaying the rescue process instead of speeding it up. Research has also shown that resting the victim on tree to await arrival of trained help, rather than bringing him/her down in a hurry, may actually reduce the chance of further injury. All such information is now coming out to challenge the old thinking.

Attached is information on Aerial Rescue given by perhaps the world's best Tree Climbing training company called ArborMaster in the USA. ArborMaster can be more or less recognized as the official ISA Tree Climbing training agent & has developed many techniques & equipment with which Professional Tree Climbers are using all over the world including the Station Manager. ArborMaster's website is & is full of good information.

Aerial Rescue is one of the requisition to apply for the ISA Certified Tree Worker (CTW) exam. There are currently over 20,000 Certified Arborists in the world but only around 650 CTW's, even though CTW exam only tests basic skills. CUGE ( currently offers training programs in Basic Tree Climbing with Australian credentials. CUGE may proceed to the CTW credential later when they can build up the number of their Tree Climbing candidates as time goes along. The Station Manager may be invited to proctor CTW exam in Singapore in future when needed. Tree Climbing is already becoming a requirement for Tree Maintenance Contracts in Singapore. It looks like Singapore will be taking the lead in this aspect again in Asia.

ISA HK/China currently has no intention to conduct CTW exam in HK/China until further notice.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

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