Summer camp was the best times I had in Girl Scouts. I started going to camp at 8, continued through high school in the Counselor-in-Training program, and worked as a counselor the first summer after high school.
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This fantastic resource for girls on their way to camp was shared with me. It’s a free, printable packing list. Included in this article are great tips for keeping the list durable so your girls can not only make sure they have everything they need before heading off to camp, but also make sure they didn’t leave anything behind when packing to come home!
Whenever going into the great outdoors with a troop, it’s important to develop an Emergency Action Plan, or EAP. An effective EAP must be simple, easy to remember, and in writing. Y0u should make an EAP clear for all girls, volunteers, and event staff to understand. A EAP should include these general features:
- How the person who recognizes the emergency is to signal others.
- The steps each person should take in an emergency.
- The location of rescue and safety equipment.
- Actions to minimize the emergency and safely rescue any victims.
- How to call for medical assistance when needed.
- Follow up procedures for after the emergency.
All adults should be briefed in detail what to do in case of an emergency with the troop. Depending on the age of the girls, you can brief them at the same time if they’re older and can understand the details, or you may choose to brief younger girls separately using language they can more easily understand.
When you put your EAP into writing, consider including any of the applicable following sections:
- Layout of facility/environment.
- EMS personnel access and entry/exit routes.
- Location of rescue and first aid equipment.
- Location of telephones, with emergency telephone numbers posted.
- Location of keys for buildings or rooms with telephones or emergency equipment.
- Exits and evacuation routes.
- Equipment available.
- Rescue equipment.
- First aid supplies.
- Emergency equipment, such as flashlights or fire extinguishers.
- Support personnel available.
- Staff members.
- Troop leaders.
- Clerical personnel.
- Maintenance personnel.
- EMS personnel.
- Police officers.
- Fire fighters.
- Hazardous materials (HazMat) team.
- Poison control center.
- Power and gas companies.
- Health department.
- Search and rescue team.
- Staff responsibilities.
- Assign each adult a duty:
- Provide care.
- Control bystanders and troop.
- Meet EMS personnel.
- Interview witnesses.
- How and when to call 9-1-1 (or other local emergency number), and who will make the call.
- Chain of command.
- Personal to contact family/parents.
- Person to deal with media.
- Follow up.
- This includes items such as EAP documentation and evaluation.
Clearly, some of these sections do not need to be included for a day trip to a public, controlled area (such as a pool or water park). They should all be included when taking an extended trip or a trip to a more remote area, like a day hike or weekend long camping trip.
For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.