9 essential tips to reduce accidents over the summer
Enjoy your summer activities carefree by following these great safety tips.
1. Carry out risk assessments
Nightmare scenario: Your section is about to begin a rock climbing activity session. Suddenly, you realise there are not enough helmets for every young person taking part.
Prevent accidents by carrying out risk assessments.
Nothing is worse than organising an activity for your section to enjoy, only for it to end in an accident. Accidents happen when necessary precautions are not taken. The risk of an accident can be reduced when hazards have been assessed before doing an activity, by carrying out a risk assessment.
2. Follow emergency procedures
Nightmare scenario: Your Group is out on a hike on a very hot summers day. A young person faints due to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Know what to do in an emergency.
We have a simple procedure you can follow if you find yourself in a situation that requires emergency assistance. Safe Scouting & What To Do In An Emergency (also known as the Purple Card) is full of essential information you can carry with you.
3. Stay safe when cooking
Nightmare scenario: The leaders cook dinner for everyone on camp. During the night, many of the Scouts fall ill from food poisoning.
Avoid ill health by preparing food safely.
Prevent ill health and food poisoning while camping by handling food correctly. Our camp food safety factsheet guides you on how to maintain a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness when preparing food. We have also provided information on how to prevent the infection and spreading of E. coli O157.
4. Keep an eye on open fires
Nightmare scenario: Your Explorers are having a campfire. They leave it unsupervised for a moment, and it breaks out into a wildfire.
Do a thorough fire risk assessment.
It wouldn’t be a Scout camp without a campfire, but if you’re planning on having one, ensure you know how to light it correctly, control it and clear it away. If you’re unsure how to do this, check out our building a fire resource. It’s also important to complete a fire risk assessment beforehand to identify any fire hazards. Use our managing fire safety factsheet to find out how.
5. Use and store gas properly
Nightmare scenario: You’re preparing an afternoon craft activity, but as you enter the mess tent, the smell of gas is almost suffocating.
Avoid gas leaks by turning off cylinders correctly.
When on camp, you might use gas cylinders to cook with. If you do use them, you must ensure that they are turned off once you have finished using them. Here, we have best practice advice on how to use and store them correctly.
6. Learn how to use axes, saws and knives
Nightmare scenario: You’re in charge of sorting the wood for the campfire. You pick up an axe to use, but as you swing it down you realise it’s too big for you and lose control of it.
Train yourself to use tools properly to limit the risk.
Knowing how to use axes, saws and knives correctly is an essential Scouting skill. You will have to use them when preparing firewood, or wood for bush craft activities. Take a look at our axe and saw guide and knife safety guidelines for how to use these tools correctly.
7. Hire and set up bouncy castles correctly
Nightmare scenario: You’ve organised a District Beaver Scout event where there will be a bouncy castle. It begins to collapse on the young people who are playing on it.
Make sure bouncy castles are fit for use.
Avoid bouncy castle issues by making sure any inflatable is fit for use. That means inspecting it to check it is in great shape and is anchored securely. To help you plan your bouncy castle event, read these guidelines.
8. Set up and store tents properly
Nightmare scenario: While on camp, one Scout Patrol pitches their tent in the centre of the field. Later, when doing activities, a young person trips over a guy line and falls over, hurting their ankle.
Mark out where guy lines are by using flags.
When setting up tents, make sure they are evenly spaced out, are not near patches of water (like ponds and lakes), leave enough space for activities, and are away from the cooking area. Take a look at this factsheet explaining good practice when setting up and storing tents.
9. Use an InTouch system to communicate with leaders and parents better
Nightmare scenario: While on camp, one of your Scouts realises they have left their asthma pump at home and begins to panic. You try to call their parent, but you don’t have their mobile phone number and nobody is answering the house phone.
Avoid this from happening by putting in place an InTouch system.
This will help you to keep track of contact and emergency details for all young people and their parents or guardians. It also helps you and your other leaders understand the line of communication. You can use this checklist to help you set up your InTouch system.
For more advice visit the members' area.