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No two emergencies are the same. While the various steps and suggestions outlined in these procedures represent the camp’s guidelines, your own good judgement should be the final authority until you are able to contact assistance. The safety and well-being of the campers and staff ALWAYS comes first.  Below we talk about how to be safe, maintain, maintain security and what emergency plan should be used.  We will have a fire drill within 24 hours of coming to camp, and will discuss the bounderies of camp, the expected appropriate behavior of everyone at camp, and precautional concerns of how to treat nature, the physical hazzards or camp and what to do in an emergency, both nature and man made, both at camperfire (within the first hour of camp) and again throughtout the week.  Please make sure you are familiar with all the items listed below.


If you are the primary staff member at the scene in camp:

1.  Count to ten and evaluate the overall situation. Do not rush or panic.

2.  Take charge. Be firm and clear with your instructions to campers and staff. Use a calm tone of voice.

3.  The staff member with the highest level of appropriate certification is delegated the responsibility to aid the injured party. Give priority attention to caring for the needs of the victim. The person rendering first aid must enter the information in the camp health log within 12 hours of the incident.

4.  Delegate another staff member to ensure the safety of other campers by taking them away from the immediate scene and organizing singing, games, or other activities. Retain one staff member at the scene of the accident with the victim.

5.  Contact the health-care supervisor as soon as possible. Provide a clear description of the emergency and your location.

6.  Notify the Camp Director or other administrative staff in the camp office. If someone else answers the call, tell them: “This is an emergency, I must talk to the Camp Director.” Do not discuss the situation with them.

7.  Begin collecting the facts. What happened? How? When? Where? Witnesses? Where were the staff? Campers? What could the victim have done to prevent the injury?

8.  Once the health-care supervisor/Camp Director arrives at the scene, summarize the situation and answer questions. The health-care supervisor or Director will take charge.

9.  Prepare accident reports within 24 hours.

10.  In the case of a critical accident, serious injury, harm or fatality: Keep a responsible adult at the scene of the accident or emergency situation to see that nothing is disturbed until medical aid or the law-enforcement authorities arrive.

If you are out of camp:

1.  If the injury is not a life/death situation or is an illness, contact camp first. If the emergency appears to be life/death related, call 911 first (or appropriate EMS number), then notify the camp.

2.  Be prepared to deal with the public and possibly the media. Do not issue any statements. Do not make any comments “off the record.” Do not speculate.

3.  Indicate as pleasantly as possible that you are not authorized to speak for the camp and refer them to the Camp Director.

4.  Make NO statement orally, or in writing, which could be interpreted as assuming or rejecting responsibility for the accident or emergency. Under NO circumstances reveal the name of the victim or other persons involved.

5.  Cooperate with the public emergency personnel at the scene. Get the name, badge number, and jurisdiction of the officer taking the report. If possible, get the report number, too.

6.  Contact the child’s parents only if you have authorization from the Camp Director or health-care supervisor.

If you are a secondary staff member at the scene: Campers’ safety is first!

1.  Quickly and quietly follow the directions of the person in charge of the situation.

2.  Do not panic . . . remember, you must set an example for the campers at the scene.

3.  Offer advice only if you are more knowledgeable about the incident or you are asked.

4.  Do not discuss or allow campers to discuss the situation with anyone other than camp personnel or law-enforcement officials.

5.  Assist in preparing reports as needed.




1.  The buddy system is used at all aquatic activities. The buddy board is also used at the pool area.

2.  “Buddy checks” need to occur at least once during each aquatic activity period.

3.  Waterfront staff and watchers should have periodic rehearsals of aquatic rescue procedures.

4.  In the event of an aquatic emergency, the waterfront staff member with highest qualification/position shall be in charge.




1.  The lifeguard signals a long blast on the whistle. This signal alerts other pool staff and watchers that it may be necessary to clear the pool and put rescue procedures into action.

2.  Lifeguard on duty will reach victim in the fastest possible way and administer appropriate lifesaving techniques. If she/he requires help in the rescue, she/he extends a clasped fist into the air. Remaining lifeguards assist with the rescue.

3.  Lookouts and additional guards signal all campers and staff to leave the water and the pool area. The lookouts/counselors will supervise the campers.

4.  One counselor will be asked to report immediately to the office and explain the nature of the incident. The health-care supervisor and Camp Director will be contacted immediately. If the emergency is a drowning or major injury, 911 will be contacted. (Follow procedures for Major Incidents and Accidents.)



If a camper is missing during a buddy check or the camper’s buddy or counselor notifies the lifeguards or lookouts that a camper is missing:

1.  A whistle is blown for a “buddy check.” Everyone immediately gets out of the water and a recount of swimmers is immediately taken.

2.  Unit staff assigned by the waterfront director or lifeguard will take other campers out of the pool area or other designated place.

3.  Waterfront staff will immediately scan the pool, then check the changing room and restrooms.

4.  Waterfront staff will designate a staff member to inform the camp office of emergency details. If the camper is not found, Missing Person Procedures will be followed from the Emergency Procedures.




1.  Campers must complete a “tip test” prior to canoeing to receive instructions on what to do in the event of a capsized canoe. Everyone in a canoe must wear a size-appropriate PFD.

2.  When the staff has spotted a capsized canoe, instruct the other campers to move away from the area. Talk to the campers and tell them to do just what they did during the “tip test.”

3.  If the campers are unable to maneuver themselves and the canoe to safety, a staff member should canoe next to the campers and assist them.



Campers are not allowed to swim in the lake. In the event that a camper has capsized his/her canoe or fallen into the lake, follow appropriate rescue techniques. If a camper is missing:

1.  Remove everyone immediately from the lake and onto the shore while a recount is quickly taken.

2.  Unit counselors take campers away from the lake and inform the office of emergency details.

3.  Waterfront staff scans the lake until other help arrives.

4.  The administrative staff contacts other staff members and proceeds to the lake area with a walkie talkie. One staff member will stay by the phone. A rescue squad (911) should be contacted, and the emergency procedures followed.

5.  A designated drill person will stay on the shore and direct the others to look for the camper, moving with as little movement as possible. Depending on the condition of the lake, the staff may look via canoe, rowboat, or by swimming: The safety of the staff members is very important! If needed, masks, snorkels, and other rescue equipment are available at the pool area.

6.  The search continues until rescue authorities arrive and take over and direct the staff on their duties.



Fire drills are held within the first 24 hours of each session as prescribed by state law. The safety of campers and staff depends on everyone performing their job efficiently. To avoid confusion during an emergency, learn your responsibilities well.

Review with campers an emergency exit from their sleeping area and where to assemble when they hear the alarm.



Blasts of the air horn is ‘the signal.’ When the signal is heard in the unit, blow the emergency whistle to assemble campers. Contact the camp office by intercom, walkie talkie, or runner to let them know you’ve heard the signal and to receive any instructions. When the alarm sounds, the head cook is responsible for contacting the horseback-riding area to notify them of the emergency. If the intercom is not working, send a kitchen aide as a runner. If a unit has not been contacted within 5 minutes, a runner will be sent and contact will be attempted by intercom.

If the fire is in the unit, designate one staff member to walk the campers away from the fire (upwind or downhill). Another staff member is designated to sound the air-horn alarm and to notify the camp office. (Use the intercom or send a staff runner.) Other staff members attempt to contain the fire using hoses, rakes, shovels, bucket brigade, and fire extinguisher. Begin fighting the fire at the outside perimeter, not in the middle, since attacking the center tends to spread it more. Use good judgement! Do not risk injury to staff or campers.



Stop all activities, assemble all campers in a buddy line and count to be sure all the campers and staff are present. All persons, if possible, should have shoes on their feet, and if at night, flashlights. Proceed quickly and quietly to the designated parking area. Walk on the side of the road facing traffic. Leave room for vehicles to pass. Upon arrival, do another head count and report the number of campers and staff present to the person in charge. Keep the campers quiet and calm and wait for further instruction.

If the fire prevents you from reaching the parking area, use good judgement. Stay put so an administrative staff can reach you OR exit quickly, using the safest route, to the nearest road. Wait at the road for assistance.

If possible, bring the campers’ medications and the unit first-aid kit.

Staff without unit responsibility will carry out their assigned tasks.

If outside the main camp area, call in on the walkie talkie or send a runner to the office. Be sure your unit has signed out at the office before leaving main camp so you can be easily located if the alarm cannot be heard.



If it is necessary to immediately evacuate the camp, campers will be divided by units and loaded into all camp vehicles and staff cars and transported to a safety zone. To expedite this process, staff cars must be parked facing out and an ignition and door key turned into the camp office.



Most campers are well rehearsed in earthquake “duck-and-cover” drills at school. If campers are inside, have them move away from windows and “duck and cover” under beds, tables, or stand in braced doorways. If the earthquake catches you outside, move away from buildings and trees. Seek an open area.

After an earthquake, do not enter any buildings until they have been checked by the camp administrative staff or the rangers. If possible, shut off the electrical system until the building is checked. Attempt to stop any water leaks.

Stay in your area if it seems safe. Calm the campers and provide program activities (singing, stories, etc.) until help arrives.



Lightning will seek tall objects, so stay away from lone trees, drinking fountains, and hilltops. Seek shelter under a low clump of trees, in a building, or automobile. All swimmers and canoers must go to the edge and get out of the water upon the signal from the waterfront staff.



On the first day of the session, review with campers “Staying Found” (see Hiking Procedures) and what to do if separated from the group with campers. Upon determination that a camper is missing:

1.  Determine when and where the camper was last seen. Stay calm so you don’t frighten the other campers.

2.  Discover (if possible) the state of mind of the camper. Was she depressed or angry, threatening to run away? Did he fall behind on a hike, or leave to visit a friend in another unit? A camper who does not wish to be found will require a wider and more careful search.

3.  Do a search of the immediate area with available staff. (The camper may have wandered to the edge of the activity.) Ask nearby campers and staff if they have seen or know where the camper is. Before leaving the rest of the group to find a camper, see that they are supervised by another staff member.

4.  Check any known accomplices (friends in other cabins, etc).

5.  Check bathrooms, dining hall, the cabin, and a friend’s cabin.

6.  Contact the Camp Director or other administrative personnel about the situation. Include the name of the missing camper, when and where last seen, description of child: hair, eyes, weight, height, and, as close as possible, clothing. The Camp Director will organize an extended search. If the camper is not found in 20 minutes, the camper will be presumed lost. The Camp Director will institute a public search that will include contacting the sheriff department, camp office, and camper’s parents.

7.  Do not ignore the remaining campers. Be calm and positive. Acknowledge their fears and move on to some activity.

8.  Complete an incident report and any other reports requested.



Unfamiliar persons on the camp property may range from someone lost and looking for directions to a person with intent to do harm to persons or property. Some judgement must be made on the part of staff. Be observant as to the make, model, and license number of the car. Persons should be questioned to ascertain who they are and why they are here. Do not antagonize the intruder. Be polite, give assistance if possible, refer the person to the camp office, or ask them to leave. This is private property and not open to the public. Observe to ascertain that the person leaves the site.

If the appearance of the unfamiliar person makes you uncomfortable, approach with another staff member. Someone should stay with the campers away from the situation.

If the person seems threatening in any way, do not approach or take any chances. Remove yourselves and the campers from the area, notify the camp office, and observe the whereabouts of the person.

If you see or suspect an intruder in camp at night, immediately and quietly notify the other staff members and the camp office. Check all camper sleeping areas with a head count. In order to prevent false alarms and unnecessary fright, all camp personnel will carry flashlights and identify themselves when walking in the camp at night.

Teach the campers to come quietly and tell you if they see an unfamiliar person on the property. If a child encounters an unfamiliar person, real or imagined, never tell the child that “it really wasn’t anything,” “there is no need to be afraid,” or “it was just your imagination.” Frightened children need to be allowed to experience their fear, to know that it is okay to be afraid, and to talk about their experience.

If you are off camp property, keep a staff member with the campers while two other staff members go to notify a park ranger or law-enforcement officer if someone seems to be behaving suspiciously or inappropriately around your area.

Notify the Camp Director immediately of any intruders. Complete an incident report and any other reports requested.




All staff members will refer all visiting persons (stranger or known) to the Director. Under NO conditions may a camper be removed from camp without the permission of the Camp Director.

Strangers may come to the camp in search of potential victims. Custody disputes between parents can result in an attempt to remove a camper from camp. We have a form that parents sign on registration day if a camper is to be picked up from camp early or by another person! The Director will verify this written instruction if someone comes for a camper.

Should a camper be taken from camp without the expressed and direct approval of the Director: Get descriptions of all persons involved if possible (hair, clothes, height, license number of car, etc.). Notify the Camp Director IMMEDIATELY!




Our precious resource! Our camp has a self-contained water system. When it fails, we have serious problems. Because of the limited supply, practice conservation and teach the campers to restrict the amount of water they use, too.

1.  Loss of pressure or unusually rusty-looking water is a symptom of a problem in the system. The units at the end of the system are typically the first to notice the problem. Immediately notify the camp office if you suspect a problem.

2.  Should a major leak/break in the line occur in your area, shut off the water as instructed during pre-camp training. Use the intercom to notify the camp office.



A power loss may occur from sources inside or outside the camp. An electrical fire must be dealt with immediately. Be sure everyone knows that the wires and electrical equipment substations and large green transformer boxes are dangerous and off limits. Complete a Request for Repair for the maintenance staff if you see one unlocked.

1.  Lack of Power: Check the circuit breakers as instructed during pre-camp training. A “tripped” breaker will be positioned midway between on and off, and may have some red showing. To reset, turn the breaker off then back on again. If the breaker trips again, and you can manage without the circuit, switch the breaker to “off” and report the problem along with the breaker number on the Request for Repair form. Note: The intercom phone will not work if the power is off to the entire camp. Stay put. The administrative staff will come with an appraisal of the situation and instructions.

2.  Electrical Fire: Sound air horn and divide duties. Assemble and evacuate all campers, notify camp office while staff fight the fire. Never use water on an electrical fire. Use a fire extinguisher or baking soda. Try to turn off the circuit breaker.

3.  Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. Stay clear and don’t touch them. You risk death if you contact energized lines or appliances or if you touch a victim who is in contact with them.



Most of our emergency procedures involve bringing everyone in Camp into one place to count heads. In the unlikely event of an armed intruder in Camp, bringing everyone into one place would actually make things worse. In this instance, we will initiate the Scatter Procedure.

The Scatter Procedure is about damage reduction. Our visiting policies, staff screening, remote location, on the property all serve to prevent an event like this from happening in the first place. If it does happen, the Scatter Procedure is designed to reduce the potential for injuries and deaths.

The Scatter Procedure is initiated by announcing over the radios “Scatter! Scatter! Scatter! This is not a drill.” If possible, the radio announcer should also announce the location of the threatening person, so that people can run away from that location. People with radios should acknowledge receipt of the message and spread the word in their areas. Staff members without radios should gather as many campers as they can and Run, Hide, or Fight – in that order of priority.

Run – This is the first choice. Gather as many kids as you can and run away from the threat. Feel free to leave the property, and don’t feel obligated to stay on trails like in the fire procedure. We will discuss with our staff certain areas to run to depending on the circumstances.  If you’re on the water in a boat, point that boat away from Camp. Staying as safe as possible, get off the Camp property and if possible (depending on the circumstances) head toward the residence properties outside of Camp. Call 911 and report your location, along with the number of campers you have with you, any other information the authorities ask for, and follow the authorities’ instructions.

Hide – If running is not an option, gather as many campers as you can and try to hide. Where you hide will depend on the number of campers you have with you and your location in Camp. If you are hiding in a location where you can block entry to others, do so.  Remember to stay calm and quit, until the authorities come to your aid.

Fight – If the threatening person is right in front of you, and running or hiding is not an option, your only option is to fight. Several of the tragic shootings in recent years have ended when the shooter tries to reload and a would-be victim has had an opportunity to tackle the attacker. This is your last option, and your instincts would likely take over in this scenario.

To find out more about this please watch the following Video Links:

Remember Camp4Kids first and primary goal is your safety.

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