OUSA Safety Recommendations for Do-It-Yourself Orienteering Events

With physical distancing necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, orienteering clubs are turning to Do-It-Yourself events as one way to continue to provide orienteering for their members and the public. Orienteering USA wants to make sure that such events are handled in a safe manner to protect our members and our organization’s liability.

A Do-It-Yourself event involves participants going to terrain and running a course when they choose. There would not be any on-site event management while the participant is running. This includes both permanent courses and temporary courses without any management on-site.

Liability Waivers

It is important that participants on Do-It-Yourself courses accept personal responsibility for their safety and release the club, the landowner, and OUSA from liability. Some ways to accomplish this include:

  • Require signing of a waiver via a registration portal before being granted access to the map.
  • Post the waiver on the same page as the map download with clear language that downloading the map serves as agreement to the waiver.
  • Print the waiver on the map itself with clear language that possession of the map serves as agreement to the waiver.

Safety of Participants

We want our participants to have a positive orienteering experience and to come back safe and healthy. For Do-It-Yourself courses it is important that we provide participants with the tools to do so responsibly. It is recommended that clubs provide the following guidance for Do-It-Yourself events:

  • Very clear information on the technical and physical difficulty of the course(s) with a reminder that management will not be on site and participants should choose a course suitable for their skill level and level of fitness.
  • Participants should make sure someone knows where they are going and when they are expected to return. A copy of the map left in their car or with a friend will be useful if search and rescue becomes necessary. Clubs may wish to implement some sort of virtual check-in/check-out procedure or leave it up to the participant to take responsibility for this themselves.
  • Instructions on how to summon emergency assistance in the area of the course and how to get to the nearest hospital. Be very clear on whether cell phone service is available on the course.
  • A reminder to carry an emergency whistle and water.