The BSA's Commitment to Safety is ongoing and we want you to know that the safety of our youth, volunteers, staff, and employees cannot be compromised. Health and safety must be integrated into everything we do, to the point that no injuries are acceptable beyond those that are readily treatable by Scout-rendered first aid.
Tools to plan campouts and events | Council First Aid Meet | Emergency Preparedness | Guide to Safe Scouting
Health Forms | Incident Reporting Reporting of Child Abuse or Violations | Resources | Tour Plan | Training
The Boy Scouts of America and the Sam Houston Area Council have created guidelines to help units:
- Know, understand, and comply with all rules, policies, and procedures.
- Model safe behaviors when participating in Scouting events.
- Encourage staff, volunteer leaders and youth members to share in the management of risk.
- Promote, provide, and, when appropriate, require health and safety training.
- Communicate the importance of incident and near-miss reporting and hold staff members accountable for implementing reporting procedures at unit, district, and council levels.
- Study incidents that do occur to learn from them, and modify risks where appropriate.
- Support enterprise risk management concepts.
New tools to plan events and campouts
The campout safety checklist provides guidance on safety issues that you may encounter at a Scouting campout. Along with the Guide to Safe Scouting and the tour and activity plan, this tool will help you in having conversations on identifying risks that need to be mitigated or eliminated.
The event safety checklist provides guidance on safety issues that you may encounter at a Scouting event. This is a tool, not a list of mandatory guidelines. The intent of the checklist is to create conversations among event organizers around risks and ways to mitigate or eliminate them.
The First Aid Meet is an event that challenges Scouts' abilities to perform first aid in simulated real-life situations. Boy Scout patrols compete in practical first aid problems, displaying hands-on skills from the Boy Scout Handbook, First Aid merit badge pamphlet and current American Red Cross guidelines. The top two winning patrols at each district’s First Aid Meet are eligible to compete in the council First Aid Meet in January. Boy Scout patrols are given a variety of scenarios and are expected to show proficiency in First Aid.
Emergency management, emergency preparedness, and disaster services are common throughout the United States - we take care of each other. By whatever name, these activities encompass preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery related to any kind of disaster, whether natural, technological, or national security. Emergency preparedness means being prepared for all kinds of emergencies, able to respond in a time of crisis to save lives and property, and to help a community or even a nation - return to normal life after a disaster occurs.
The Emergency Preparedness BSA program is planned to inspire the desire and foster the skills to meet this challenge in our youth and adult members so that they can participate effectively in this crucial service to their families, communities, and nation. Please review the linked documents to help your family be prepared for emergencies.
Guide to Safe Scouting
The purpose of the Guide to Safe Scouting is to prepare adult leaders to conduct Scouting activities in a safe and prudent manner. The policies and guidelines have been established because of the need to protect members from known hazards that have been identified through 100-plus years of experience. Limitations on certain activities should not be viewed as stumbling blocks; rather, policies and guidelines are best described as stepping-stones toward an enjoyable adventure.
All volunteers participating in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scouting. Unit leaders should be aware of state and local government regulations that supersede Boy Scouts of America policies and guidelines.
In order to provide better care for its members and to assist them in better understanding their own physical capabilities, the Boy Scouts of America recommends that everyone who participates in a Scouting event have an annual medical evaluation by a certified and licensed health-care provider—a physician (MD or DO), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Providing your medical information on this four-part form will help ensure that you meet the minimum standards for participation in various activities. Note that unit leaders must always protect the privacy of unit participants by protecting their medical information. The BSA Annual Health and Medical Record is to be completed at least annually by participants in all Scouting events.
A key responsibility that all volunteers and professional staff share is providing an effective program that meets the needs of young people and provides the proper health and safety of everyone concerned. It is important that we sustain the safe operation of our programs and promote continuous improvement through organizational learning. Timely and complete incident reports support analysis that is critical to identifying needed improvement of the programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America.
Mandatory Report of Child Abuse
All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is, or has been, physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.
SHAC Child Abuse Reporting Procedures
Steps to Reporting Child Abuse
- Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
- In cases of child abuse or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately. In addition, if the suspected abuse is in the Scout's home or family, you are required to contact the local child abuse hotline.
- Notify the Scout executive or his/her designee.
Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies
If you think any of the BSA's Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting's Barriers to Abuse, you must notify your local council Scout executive or his/her designee so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.
The tour and activity plan is a planning tool to help leaders be prepared for a safe and fun adventure. It can help you ensure trained leadership is in place, equipment is available, and there is safe and appropriate transportation to and from an event.
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