Check3GPS Readiness Quotient
Your supervisor may use the following checklist to determine if you have adequately addressed the risk factors for cliff diving. If you can answer “yes” to all the questions below, you should be good to go!
Is the company you will be jumping with or the “jumpmaster” registered with the United States Bungee Association (USBA), thus ensuring the adherence to certain rules and safety items?
Do you know what to expect among different types of bungee cords in terms of variation in velocity, g-force, and overall smoothness of ride?
If jumping from a crane, are you aware of the restrictions placed on the angle of the crane, the height of the cage and distance the cage should be below the crane so that you may recognize an improperly operated “crane-jump” business?
If the jump will be accomplished off of a car/pedestrian bridge, will you be jumping from one of the few bridges in all of North America that have been approved for bungee jumping?
Are you familiar with the wind restrictions associated with bungee jumping?
If tied off at the waist, will the required “cradle-type” harness be used?
This checklist has been adapted from the Pacific Air Forces High-Risk Activities Guide.
TOP HAZARDS AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM
1. INADEQUATE/UNSAFE EQUIPMENT
Mitigate: Bungee jumping requires the use of ankle and/or waist harnesses. Strapping on both harness types provides an added level of protection. Operators should triple-check all equipment, including harnesses: during initial harness hook-up; while waiting to jump; and on the platform just before the leap. Make sure the jump operator measures your height and weight for proper harness fit and cord length adjustment. Lastly, the bungee cord must be anchored to a sturdy, stable structure and tied down with specific weight-bearing knots.
2. LACK OF FAMILIARITY WITH JUMPING PROCEDURES
Mitigate: Follow the jumpmaster’s instructions, and don’t try any flips or spins unless you are an experienced jumper. Many reputable companies will have specialized training videos for you to watch before you jump. A simple swan or swallow dive is the safest way for first-timers to soar.
3. LACK OF PRE-REQUISITE PHYSICAL CONDITION
Mitigate: You should not bungee jump if you have any of the following conditions: pregnancy; diabetes; back or neck problems; high or low blood pressure; abnormal heart rate or rhythm. If you are uncertain about your physical fitness for bungee jumping, get checked out by a physician or nurse practitioner before you take the plunge.
4. INADEQUATE/NON-EXISTENT LANDING AREA PREPARATION
Mitigate: The landing area (over land) should have an air bag, cushion or safety net of a prescribed size and be otherwise free of spectators, staff and all equipment. If the jump will take place over water, the landing area should be clear of all vessels and floating objects, except for the recovery vessel.
5. UNSAFE PLATFORMS AT ALTITUDE
Mitigate: Bungee jumping platforms, whether permanent or mobile structures, are required by state law to be equipped with some or all of the following safety features: slip-resistant floor surfaces; anchor points for safety harnesses; enclosures to contain jumpers while they are getting ready; guiderails and grab bars; and gates with safety locks across the jump point. Platforms also have specific capacity and wind speed limits.
Though not common, serious eye injury following a bungee jump is a real danger, as reported in numerous case studies in medical journals. According to the authors of one such article in The British Journal of Ophthalmology, “Retinal haemorrhages during bungee jumping occurred because of an abrupt rise of intravascular pressure in the upper portion of the body due to gravity and the sudden deceleration that occurs in the downward momentum of the bungee jumper.” In layman’s terms, the forceful yank on the jumper’s body when the cord reaches full extension increases the pressure in the eyeballs that can burst the tiny blood vessels of the retina, leading to temporary or permanent loss of vision. So, before you take a flying leap, consider the following:
An adrenaline rush that lasts a few seconds could result in a lifetime of visual impairment.
If you choose to jump, you may want to seek out an operation that uses all-rubber cord, which affords a longer, smoother ride (more gradual deceleration and lower G-forces), instead of the less elastic military “shock” cord.
If you experience eye problems after jumping, see an ophthalmologist right away; early diagnosis and treatment, which may include surgery, can save your vision.
BUNGEE JUMPING DON’T DOS
DON’T eat a big meal immediately before you jump
DON’T chew gum or food while you jump
DON’T jump in free-flying clothing that could get caught in the cord
DON’T jump without tying back long hair
DON’T jump with valuables and other loose objects in your pockets
DON’T jump in glasses or hard contact lenses
DON’T jump in high winds or inclement weather
DON’T jump if you are pregnant or have diabetes, abnormal blood pressure, heart rate/rhythm or back/knee/neck problems
DON’T go with the first bungee jumping company you come across before checking out the operator’s references, safety record, staff certifications, and back-up procedures.
Associations & Websites
Information for bungee jumping and stunts
Safety and regulation of bungee jumping in Great Britain