Southcentral Foundation ATV Safety Initiative
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snow machines, and other off-road vehicles such as side-by-sides offer fun, adventure, provide a method of transportation, and are great tools for subsistence activities in Alaska. However, without proper precautions, no matter the distance, riders can be put in danger potentially resulting in unintentional accidents and injuries. When utilizing an ATV, snowmachine, or another off-road vehicle, it is essential to ride safe, ride smart, and ride sober.
- To promote wellness in rural Alaska communities by addressing shared health challenges with effective, efficient, and feasible solutions otherwise unattainable by small communities acting in isolation.
- To eliminate unintentional and accidental injuries and deaths associated with all-terrain vehicles, snow machines, and other off-road vehicles in rural Alaskan communities by instituting community lead educational activities, providing safety gear, and educating on proper fitting of safety gear.
About Southcentral Foundation’s ATV Safety Initiative
Southcentral Foundation ATV Safety Initiative seeks to address unintentional injuries and accidents associated with ATV operation by increasing awareness of safe riding practices and instituting experiential hands-on safety training in rural communities. These rural locations include Iliamna, Newhalen, Igiugig, Kokhanok, Nondalton, Pedro Bay, Port Alsworth, McGrath, Nikolai, Takotna, Tyonek, Sutton, Chickaloon, Glacier View, and St. Paul.
Formal training as a prevention strategy for ATV injuries is widely endorsed by experts including the U.S. Consumer Product Protection Commission, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, safety institutes sponsored by the manufacturers, and legislatures in 24 states.
SCF ATV Safety Initiative incorporates two evidence-based practice models. The first involves education and training based on the curriculum developed by the ATV Safety Institute and the second is distributing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard approved helmets to all participating youth under age 18. Training opportunities will be open to all community members ages 8 and older.
The ATV Safety Initiative is funded by a four-year federal grant provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and is currently in its second year.
Statistics and Sources
- Between 2007-2016, 693 Alaska Native and American Indian people were hospitalized for ATV-related injuries and 510 Alaska Native and American Indian people were hospitalized for snow machine injuries (Strayer, 2019). Nearly one third of these hospitalizations involved confirmed or suspected alcohol (Strayer, 2019).
- Between 2012-2016, Alaska Native and American Indian people had a substantially higher proportion of traumatic brain injuries caused by ATV and snowmachine incidents (Strayer, 2019).
- In 2018, young children and adolescents had the highest number of new traumatic brain injuries in Alaska. Falls, motor vehicles, ATVs, and snow machine crashes led to most of these injuries (Strayer, 2019).
- In a study from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 60% of the mortalities in the cohort involved head injuries. 88% of those ATV users who died were not wearing a helmet. (Langerstrom, 2016).
- Langerstrom etal. (2016) Understanding risk factor patterns in ATV fatalities: A recursive partitioning approach. J Safety Res.; 59(December). pps 23–31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045363/
- Strayer H, Blake I, Stevens I, Provost E. Alaska Native Injury Atlas: Third Edition. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Injury Prevention Program and Alaska Native Epidemiology Center. December, 2019. Retrieved from http://anthctoday.org/epicenter/publications/InjuryAtlas2020/2020_AlaskaNative_InjuryAtlas_FullReport.pdf
Become an ATV Instructor in Your Community
The SCF ATV Safety Initiative is currently seeking ATV instructors to facilitate rodeos in the following communities in Iliamna, Newhalen, Igiugig, Kokhanok, Nondalton, Pedro Bay, Port Alsworth, McGrath, Nikolai, Takotna, Tyonek, and Sutton/Chickaloon/Glacier View.
ATV Instructors will play an integral role in helping young ATV riders have a fun, safe experience while riding an appropriately sized ATV. Instructors will evaluate the ability of young and adult riders demonstrating how to safely operate their ATVs.
ATV safety instructor expectations:
- Have a genuine interest in helping young and adult riders.
- Listen and be aware of student needs.
- Be able to bend over repeatedly, push ATVs for short periods with students aboard, move quickly (jog, not run) when needed, etc. The instructor is expected to provide the same level and quality of instruction throughout the entirety of the rodeo.
- Presentation in a professional manner anytime in association with Southcentral Foundation ATV Safety Rodeo. As a representative of the ATV Safety Institute and SCF it is incumbent upon you to ride and act responsibly. There are specific expectations/requirements:
- Model safe riding behaviors — Instructors are expected to wear appropriate riding gear in their personal life and as an instructor. Appropriate riding gear includes a DOT-approved helmet, eye protection, long sleeves, full length pants, full finger gloves, and footwear covering the ankles. Instructors are recognized as ATV safety professionals in their communities. It is essential that instructors protect the credibility of the program by dressing appropriately and riding responsibly every time they ride.
- Maintain skills to effectively demonstrate exercises. The demonstration rides given during a course are not necessarily skills used in everyday trail riding.
- Facilitate a minimum of two training/evaluation courses per year. Classes are 5-9 hours each day (depending on the number of classes offered).
- Attend ATV instructor training as requested or required.
- Follow ATV Safety Institute-approved curriculum, comply with policies and procedures, and protect yourself and the program.
- Maintain a good driving record. Protect your ability to train/evaluate.
The following requirements must be met before an individual’s application is submitted. Individuals must:
- Be age 21 or older
- Successfully pass a criminal background check
- Be an experienced ATV rider
- Have no felony convictions
- Be in good physical shape, capable of sustained physical exertion. Classes take place anytime the instructor deems the conditions are appropriate to hold a class.
- Must complete an ATV Safety institute application. Only when all the prerequisites have been met will an individual’s application be considered.
- If you are employed by SCF, this would be an intermittent assignment. Grant funding will pay for your time commitment, training, and costs associated with ATV instruction.
- If you are a community member who is not an SCF employee, this will be a volunteer opportunity and SCF will not be able to pay for time. Candidates will need to pass a background check with SCF Human Resources. However, the grant will pay for the training and associated travel fees.
- SCF will provide necessary age-appropriate ATVs for participants ages 5-16 and the necessary equipment to conduct training for these age groups.
Your journey to becoming an instructor starts with a few steps. It is important that you have read and understand the following material listed above. If you are interested in becoming an ATV instructor, please contact the ATV Safety Initiative Team, at SCFATVSafetyInitiative@scf.cc.
- Alaska Injury Prevention Facts: Traumatic Brain Injury — Early detection in children improves outcome
- ATV Safety Institute E-Course (free)
- Snow machine safety — Learn the essentials of snow machine/snowmobile safety by taking a free e-course offered by Safe Riders.
- Side-by-side safety — Recreational off-road vehicles also known as side-by-sides, UTV, or ROVs, handle differently than other vehicles so learning how to drive correctly is an important step for everyone’s safety. Take a free e-course offered by the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association.