Count the crutches on this sled, then PAUSE for Safety

bs-klondike-5-300x201The best way to stay safe in the out­doors in any sea­son is to avoid get­ting into trou­ble in the first place. That requires plan­ning, train­ing, lead­er­ship, good judg­ment, and accept­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty.

BSA has devel­oped a five step “Safe­ty Pause” that every Senior Patrol Leader can con­duct before any activ­i­ty begins:

  1. Safety-pause-cardPause before you start. Make a plan using Safe­ty Check­lists and The Sweet 16 of BSA Safe­ty found in the Guide to Safe Scout­ing and the Enter­prise Risk Man­age­ment Guide­book.
  2. Assess pos­si­ble haz­ards. The best tool to help with this is the Guide to Safe Scout­ing As part of Guide, BSA has devel­oped  safe­ty check lists that you can find in the appen­dix.These include:

    If you are Dis­trict leader or plan­ning to run a mul­ti­ple unit event, use Pro­gram Haz­ard Analy­sis to help you assess risk.

  3. Under­stand how to pro­ceed safe­ly.  Know­ing and using The Sweet 16 of BSA Safe­ty will help pre­pare you to con­duct Scout­ing activ­i­ties in a safe and pru­dent man­ner. Lim­i­ta­tions on cer­tain activ­i­ties should not be viewed as stum­bling blocks; rather, poli­cies and guide­lines are best described as step­ping-stones toward safe and enjoy­able adven­tures.
  4. Share your plan with oth­ers. Use Tour and Activ­i­ty Plan  so that the unit com­mit­tee can syn­er­gize for safe­ty as you plan and to sup­port you once under­way.
  5. sandwich principleExe­cute the activ­i­ty safe­ly. The plan­ning is over, now it up to you. Scout­ing safe­ty requires firm sup­port for safe­ty pro­ce­dures and pre­cau­tions. This  foun­da­tion is dis­ci­pline. Safe­ty also requires respon­si­bil­i­ty and con­sci­en­tious super­vi­sion that apply appro­pri­ate pre­cau­tions and pro­ce­dures. Qual­i­fied super­vi­sors hold safe­ty ele­ments in place, but can only do so if they can con­trol the activ­i­ty and the par­tic­i­pants through dis­ci­pline based on respect, under­stand­ing, and lead­er­ship.

Planning for Activity Safety

An injury that doesn’t hap­pen needs no treat­ment. An emer­gency that doesn’t occur requires no response. An ill­ness that doesn’t devel­op demands no rem­e­dy. The best way to stay safe in the out­doors is plan­ning, train­ing, lead­er­ship, good judg­ment, and accept­ing responsibility—in short, risk man­age­ment.

pond-hockey-265x300Risk man­age­ment is so much a part of out­door adven­tures that often we hard­ly notice we are doing it. When we fill bot­tles with water from streams and lakes, we deal with the risk of par­a­sites by treat­ing the water with a fil­ter or chem­i­cals, or by boil­ing it. When we share the out­doors with bears, we pro­tect them and our­selves by hang­ing our food out of their reach, elim­i­nat­ing odors from our sleep­ing areas, and keep­ing camp­sites spot­less. When foul weath­er blows in, routes become uncom­fort­ably exposed, streams swell, or snow loads make avalanch­es a pos­si­bil­i­ty, we con­sid­er all the avail­able infor­ma­tion and then make deci­sions that keep risks at accept­able lev­els.

COPEPer­ceived risk can ener­gize out­door activ­i­ties by bring­ing to them an imme­di­a­cy that is sharp­er than what we nor­mal­ly expe­ri­ence. The actu­al risk on a well-man­aged ropes course, for exam­ple, is rel­a­tive­ly low, but par­tic­i­pants expe­ri­enc­ing the events of the course might per­ceive that the risk is much high­er than it actu­al­ly is. That height­ened aware­ness can take them beyond their usu­al com­fort lev­els and encour­age them grow; doing hard things and accept­ing chal­lenges stretch their abil­i­ties while build­ing their con­fi­dence.


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