Risk Management Plan

Emergency 911 Map Details  


In 2011 Grand River Rafting (GRR) became concerned about the high volume of people using the river and the lack of a 911 river rescue plan. 

GRR held open meetings with fire, ambulance and police services along the Grand River for their perspective.  

As a result the Ontario Provincial Police loaned GRR their emergency response team and the river was scouted with GRR teams and equipment. 

An emergency access map was created and entered in the 911 Com Center in Hamilton. Grand River Conservation Authority now has this 911 map and is looking at making it available on their website to the public. 

Presently Glen Morris to Paris is completed. 

Grand River Rafting would like to acknowledge the input from the Brant County Fire and Ambulance services, Brantford Fire, Ambulance & Police services... and especially the contribution of the Ontario Police ERT personnel Kevin York. 

Much appreciated!

Click here to view the Emergency Locations on River Routes in a larger map

Hikes & Paddle... Guide Responsibilities


  • One guide must have CPR and First Aid certification.
  • Each guide must have a complete First Aid Kit.
  • Lead Guide must carry cell phone and recorded GPS locations for 911 services.
  • Lead guide must have a whistle and do whistle orientation with group before hike.
  • Leadguide will assign a rear person (everyone else stays between guide & rear person)
  • Lead guide will do headcount at start, during rest breaks and end of trip.
  • During orientation Lead Guide will ask if he/she needs to be aware of any medical concerns within the group.
  • If someone is injured the entire group walks out with that injured person to the 911 meet point.
  • Max guide ratio of 1:15 without chaperons.
  • A Guide will do a daily journal in a bound book of weather and any situations of concern on the trip.
  • A guide will fill out an accident report of any first aid given on the trip.


Water Activities 


Acceptable Operation Conditions 

  • No operations for schools below a water temperature of 10C
  • Canoe/kayak trips shut down at flow rate 70 cu/m/sec
  • SUP shut down at flow rate 30 cu/m/sec
  • Rafting maximum flow rate 100 cu/m/sec on Nith River, 200 cu/m/sec on the Grand River 

Staff Skill 

  • At least one guide trained in emergency first aid and CPR.
  • An NLS lifeguard can be made available.
  • Staff member with basic swift water rescue training applicable to our river systems.
  • Pre-scout routes to be familiar with potential hazards and emergency exit points.
  • Water temperature, flow rates and weather are monitored before trip with on-line data
  • Guide Staff ration of 1:10 for canoes, 1:6 kayak & paddleboards
  • We use a guide ratio of 1 per 3 rafts...unless requested differently.

Orientation Talk Before Trip 

  • No one goes past lead guide
  • Proper technique for floating down the river in fast water.
  • No pushing people out of the boats
  • No diving out of boats
  • Before paddling the guides reviews emergency whistle system

                         One Whistle... stop, we want your attention

                         Two whistles... come to us

                         Three Whistles... pull over to the river bank immediately and wait.

  • Discussion on any safety awareness hazards on the river.
  • Guides ask to be discreetly informed of any medical awareness factors at risk on trip.

Re-Active Measures  (if a tip or injury)

  • Guide blows 3 whistles and moves to assist over turned boat.
  • Guide insures paddlers are safe to shore
  • Sweeper rounds up tipped boat and equipment.
  • Guide confirms everyone okay
  • A head count is done to confirm all are present
  • If serious injury or paddler fearful, guide phones land base or 911 of  pending situation needs.
  • Cell phone used to direct emergency vehicle to nearest entry point (note hospital within 30 minutes within any section of the water we paddle).
  • Victim made comfortable until help arrives
  • Lead teacher carries emergency contact forms completed by participants.
  • Lead guide assesses situation with rest of group to exit or continue.
  • If continue... one staff stays with injured person and exits out with them

In this part of Southern Ontario, Wilderness First Aid is pre-empted by Emergency Care First Aid & CPR... because of the nearby availability of hospitals and walk-in clinics, plus the many take-out points along the Grand River System. Emergency Care First Aid & CPR are more practical to sustain an injured person until trained medics arrive.  

Equipment Supplied 

  • Boats are supplied with life jacket, paddle, bailer (except in self-bailing rafts), floating rope and whistle
  • Guides have first aid kits, throw rescue bags.
  • Guides & chaperons carry cell phones for river communication.
  • Guides in cold water conditions carry a set of dry clothes and blanket, water and fire starting equipment
  • Guides have an emergency phone contact list for land based support staff 

Self-Guided Trips

  • A simple top map given to each customer with recognizeable land marks and takeout points so that rafters can give river staff approximate location on the river if a problem or emergency.
  • Staff will review map and emergency features with each raft before launching.
  • Staff will insure each group has required safety equipment... 50ft of floating rope, 1 litre bailer, whistle, lifejackets and paddles
  • Staff will insure that all life jackets are properly fitted for the customer.
  • Staff will insure each group has a cell phone in a waterproof container before launching or arrangements have been made for a set end time.