I guess safety policies might come into three categories: things you might
due to reduce injury risk, things you might do to be better prepared if
injuries do happen, and things around legal liability. I don't know if any
of this is helpful or relevant to your situation but maybe some of it will
(1) Reducing injury risk
* People are more alert and less likely to be injured if they are better
hydrated. I've noticed young dancers are always swigging water between
dances whilst older dancers rarely are (and yes I can work out why that
might be...) But can you encourage them to drink water by making it easily
available, giving water breaks and comfort breaks more often?
* Do the frailer dancers maybe go home earlier? Could you group the harder
dances at the end of the evening and focus on doing dances within their
capability whilst they are there?
* This may be a daft question, but what is good about the harder dances
that makes you keep doing them instead of simpler dances? I say this
because I have been to a lot of events and workshops, especially English,
where the programme seems unnecessarily hard, with dances that were
technically difficult but not very satisfying. I think callers sometimes
feel under pressure to do hard dances, when actually simple dances are
enjoyed just as much if not more. If complex dances are unsafe for a
significant subset of your group, is it possible to just dial the
difficulty level down? I may be off-base here as I don't know your club at
all -- you will know if this could work for your group. ("Doctor doctor it
hurts when I do this." "Well don't do that then!")
(2) Being prepared
* Does someone in the group have first aid training? If not, is it worth
getting some (maybe at the club's expense)?
* Does the venue have a first aid kit? Worth checking it and seeing if the
supplies are in date, you'd be amazed. Is there a defibrillator nearby?
(village halls / community centres etc sometimes have one)
* Does the venue have an accident recording book or do you need your own?
* If you did have to call the emergency services have you memorised the
address of the venue (incl postcode) or do you have it close to hand if you
needed it? (I know this sounds silly but I read an article once by a 999
call handler about how they often spend ages on the phone with panicking
people just trying to get them to say where they are. Common sense
sometimes goes out of the window in stressful situations.) If you did have
to call an ambulance for someone, where would it park?
* Is it worth collecting emergency contact details for everyone in the
group just in case? And details on any pre-existing medical conditions you
might want to tell the paramedics about in an emergency? You'd need a
confidential system for storing these.
(3) Legal liability
* Check that you have Public Liability Insurance which is definitely
suitable for the activity you're doing
* I do not know whether what you suggest, effectively a disclaimer, has any
legal effect. I expect it depends on where you are. This might be worth
We danced in a set at Whitby with a couple of older dancers who had near
zero mobility. I am not sure if they did not understand the
instructions,couldn't hear them, or whether they were just physically
unable to follow them. We just danced around them so they were a sort of
fixed point in the set. It mostly worked. I think they preferred that to
not participating at all.
I hope it works out anyway!
On 30 Aug 2018 06:00, "Martha Wild via Callers" <
What do you do if you have dancers who are becoming frail, but do not seem
to acknowledge it, and that you are concerned might fall and hurt
themselves (or others) at an English country dance or contra? Particularly
dancers who have danced for a long time and given much to the community,
but just refuse to admit that they are becoming hazardous to themselves and
We have some very good and much older dancers, slowing down but still quite
capable, and it is not about these that I am speaking. I’m talking about a
dancer that everyone watches with great anxiety, and who has been gently
spoken to suggesting they only dance those dances that are identified (and
we’ve started identifying them) as slow and simple. Did not take the hint
and was rather affronted.
Also, Does anyone have any safety policies? For example, that by
participating in the dance, you are affirming that you believe yourself to
be physically able to do it? Or language to that effect?
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