Thursday, May 15, 2008

ISA HK/China --- How Arborists can help in an earthquake situation

Dear Station Members,

Upon his jubilant return from the 2008 ISA Asia Pacific Arboricultural Conference in Brisbane to HK yesterday evening, the Station Manager has only got to learn in grief of the Sichuan Earthquake which has killed thousands of innocent people on 13.5.08. The news was heart breaking indeed.

On the other hand, ISA HK/China has been thinking of what we can do to help the situation with us having no funding & practically without any tangible resources. We have been thinking of how Arborists can deliver our service to meet emergency of this kind.

One idea has come up. We think our tree climbers, especially our Certified Tree Workers (CTW), can get involved positively with the in-situ rescuing work.

To begin with, it is a pre-requisite requirement in ISA that any CTW has to become a qualified First Aider certified by a mandatory institute such as the Red Cross or St. John Ambulance, as well as passing an Aerial Rescue Training, before any of them is allowed to take the CTW exam. In a nutshell, any CTW is also a recognized Fist Aider & has been trained to rescue somebody from height, e.g. on top of a tree.

In an earthquake situation where the rescuers would have to run through rubbles with risk of falling anytime, it is noticed that most of the rescuers do not carry a Fall Protection device, like tree climber has to do at all times while on a tree with rope & hardness. In reality, walking through rubbles is no more difficult than to manoeuvre among branches on a tree & the contact between the tree climber & the tree may be even less than that of the rescuer with their feet on rubbles. Tree climbers would sometimes just dangle on rope to do there work on height.

One significant advantage of the tree climber to carry out Search & Rescue in an earthquake situation would be that the tree climber would understand how to tie himself in at all times against falling with a central & high Tie-in Point. Rescuers would not be trained in this manner. Their body weight on rubbles may crush the victims below since their weight is supported by the rubbles only. The rescuers are also always in danger of falling if he would try to tackle height without Fall Protection, whereas the tree climber would first tie-in on a designated height, such as the hook of a crane or some secure protruding object of a structure, before going in with full body hardness. The tree climbers can certainly help to search & rescue in places where ordinary rescuers can not reach with their tree climbing skill. Also, all tree climbers especially our CTW's, are physically fit personnel with First Aid & Aerial Rescue knowledge. If not them, who else better?

ISA HK/China does not know how to relay this message to the Chinese authorities & maybe they are receiving mountainous help from all around the world already to do their existing work. However, this proposal is here to advise our Station Members that our CTW's are there to help save our victims in dangerous situation. May also the world see the other benefit of our tree climbers & to use them whenever they are required besides climbing trees.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Arborist opportunities in Singapore

Dear Station Members,

The Station Manager has learned while in the ISA Brisbane Conference that Singapore is currently in need of experienced Certified Arborists (CA) to conduct Structural Pruning, Installation & Transplanting, Tree Inspection & Risk Management for their 1.3 million urban trees. Singapore can not produce enough CA to satisfy their own demand at present & this is an opportunity for our young CA's who are looking for greener pastures elsewhere to make an adventure of their life.

On the other hand, it was told frankly to the Station Manager that Singapore would only require CA with suitable experience as Practitioners in the field, not designers. Those CA's who are credential collectors & have not gained experience after obtaining credential may not fit the requirement. The Station Manager will do preliminary screening on behalf of our Singapore partners in this aspect. This is because Singapore would hesitate to get someone who is not well versed in carrying out instructions & there is no time to further train overseas CA's for the job never mind their own. Those who are willing to take on the challenge must be ready to go to battle instantly upon employment. Slobs will not be welcomed.

Rather than practising throat-cutting price competition on their contracting work, Singapore would mandate fair prices with on-time payment to their project team to ensure efficiency & quality. Contract dispute is uncommon in Singapore & harmony is much emphasized. This is something that our candidates have to pay attention upon.

The initial arrangement for our CA's to work over in Singapore would be by liaison of the National Parks Board of the Singapore Govt (Nparks) to appropriate employers in Singapore for direct negotiation with the candidates. The contract would be between the Singapore employers & our CA's to work primarily for Naprks projects. This system has worked well in the past for overseas employees & flexibility can be improvised for contingency.

ISA HK/China intends to organize a special dinner to form a delegation to attend the Singapore Garden Festival 2008 Expo (SGF) on July 24 - 26, 2008 with plant suppliers, landscape contractors & tree climbers who are all needed intentionally to boost competition in the Singapore greenery industry. Those CA's who are interested to work in Singapore are also invited to come along for consultation with the Station Manager in this special dinner. Anyone interested please contact the Station Manager by e-mail to reserve a place. This special dinner will be held some time near end May when further information can be collected from Singapore with regard to the visit.

Please view upon this proposal as a special offer to change your life, if you are willing & capable.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ISA HK/China --- Winning at the 2008 ISA Asia Pacific Tree Climbing Championship


To all Station Members & HK People,

By the least expectation & overall surprise to everyone, one of the two tree climbers representing ISA HK/China to compete in the 2008 Asia Pacific Inaugural Tree climbing Championship, won the 1st place at the Head to Head Footlcok Event among the other 40 tree climbers from UK, Australia, New Zealand & Singapore. At least 5 of the competitors were former world champion of one kind or another & this is the first time ISA HK/China, & our climbers, ever competed in an international event. We also shocked the organizers by winning at an amazing 16.71 seconds, breaking the Australia record of 17 seconds, & closing in for the world record of 13 seconds, for the Men's 15m Footlock Climb.

Now who can say ISA HK/China can not climb?

The winner of the event is the Mr. LEE Kai Wang of the Fung Kai Climbing Team trained by the Station Manager & TCHK. He is currently 19 & a student of IVE, not a very good academic but has exceptional quality as tree climber to bring pride to the HK people & our community. It is not known before that HK tree climbers have ever entered into an international tree climbing competition & won anything. This is our first time & has written history for HK in tree climbing & arboriculture.

Now after all the efforts to train these young men & women, they have flowered & rewarded our society with an honour respected & surprised the international community. The sponsorship of Sam Chun, Fung Kai School & others is not wasted & well rewarded. HK has created yet another miracle & fulfilled history in our tree care mission. The Station Manager did not sleep for 3 nights already before coming to Brisbane & stood to attend the event for 7 hours before the competition in preparation fighting a running stomach all the way to await for the moment. It turned out to be all worthwhile. If anyone was there to listen to the cheers & applause of the crowd, tears will come to their eyes, because HK has won against all odds. ISA HK/China has achieved yet another HK Miracle without adequate funding & proper instruction, & we did it.

Attached are some pictures of the climb in the dark & the award ceremony. Do feel proud & be part of it when you view them. May they bring aspiration & hope to our territory in our current sinking political sentiment. May they raise the spirit of our community again & give hope to our young men & women.

ISA HK/China looks forward to give you a better report in an Informal Dinner after our return on May 15.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager from sunny Brisbane, Australia