What to do if.....
There is an Accident
Although you hope the worst never happens, you must observe council
procedures for handling accidents and fatalities. At the scene of an
accident, first provide all possible care for the injured person.
Follow established council procedures for obtaining medical assistance
and immediately reporting the emergency. To do this, you must always
have on hand the names and telephone numbers of council staff,
parents/guardians and emergency services such as the police, fire
department or hospital. Check with your council for emergency contact information.
GSHS Emergency Procedures
Adhere to all Safety Activity Checkpoints.
Please keep a copy of these guidelines and report form with you in
your First-Aid Kit at all Girl Scout Activities.
In the event of a serious accident, emergency or fatality please
follow the following council emergency procedures:
- Provide First Aid to the injured person. Dial 9-1-1 if
emergency assistance is needed.
- Keep a responsible person
at the scene at all times.
- Keep the girls calm and
- Notify the Council Crisis Team: during business
hours at 800-624-4185 or call your Member Support Specialist after
hours or on weekends.
- Call your troop's emergency contact
person to let the parents know there is a delay. Have it planned in
advance what the person will say.
- In the event of a
fatality, see that no disturbance of the victim or surroundings is
permitted until police arrive.
- Do not surrender permission
slips or medical records. Keep your copies.
- Refer all media
(press, radio, TV) inquiries to the Council. Do not make any
statements or release names to anyone.
- File an
Accident/Incident Report and refer all
insurance questions to Council personnel.
Please remember: Only Council-designated spokespersons (Council
Crisis Team) are authorized to speak on behalf of the Council. It is
very important that communications are controlled to minimize risk. A
good response is:
"I really don't have all of the information you are looking
for. You need to speak with someone from our communications team."
Feel free to give them the office phone number: 800-624-4185
In addition to reporting emergencies and serious injuries occurring
during a Girl Scout activity or on Girl Scout property to the Council
Crisis Team, you are asked to report any situation or potential
situation that poses a threat to the Girl Scout name and/or impairs
the Council's ability to operate effectively. The Council Crisis Team
appreciates it when it has time to Be Prepared.
Accident/Incident Report should be
completed for any accident that does, or could potentially, require
medical attention. It is used to supplement insurance information and
to notify the council of an incident while awaiting insurance forms
and doctor's statements.
The Accident/Incident Report should also be used for any incidents
involving inappropriate behavior that occurs on the site or during a
This report should be completed and submitted to the council office
within 24 hours following the incident. You may call the council and
file an initial report by phone at: 800- 624-4185; a copy will then be
mailed for your signature.
A leader, activity planner or parent may fill in sections of the
form that relate to their actions. On-site First Aider, Program
Director, or event coordinator should complete separate forms.
Incident report forms can be subpoenaed for legal evidence, so
information should relate only to the known facts. Be sure personal
opinions are not included.
After receiving a report of an accident, council staff will
immediately arrange for additional assistance at the scene, if needed,
and will notify parents/guardians, as appropriate. If a Girl Scout
needs emergency medical care as the result of an accident or injury,
first contact emergency medical services, and then follow council
procedures for accidents and incidents. Your adherence to these
procedures is critical, especially with regard to notifying parents or
guardians. If the media is involved, let council-designated staff
discuss the incident with media representatives.
In the event of a fatality or other serious accident, the police
must be notified, and a responsible volunteer must remain at
the scene at all times. In the case of a fatality, do not disturb the
victim or surroundings and follow police instructions. Do not share
information about the accident with anyone but the police, your
council and, if applicable, insurance representatives or legal counsel.
Someone Needs Emergency Care
As you know, emergencies can happen. Girls need to receive proper
instruction in how to care for themselves and others in emergencies.
They also need to learn the importance of reporting to volunteers any
accidents, illnesses or unusual behaviors during Girl Scout
activities. You can help girls by keeping in mind the following:
Know what to report. See the
"What to Do If There is an Accident" section earlier in
Establish and practice procedures
for weather emergencies. Know the type of extreme weather to
expect in your area (e.g. tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning).
Please consult with your council for the most relevant information
for you to share with girls.
Establish and practice procedures
for such circumstances as fire evacuation, lost persons and
building-security issues. Every girl and adult volunteer must
know how to act in these situations. For example, you and the girls,
with the help of a fire department representative, should design a
fire evacuation plan for meeting places used by the group.
Assemble a well-stocked first-aid
kit that is always accessible. First-aid administered in the
first few minutes can make a significant difference in the severity
of an injury. In an emergency, secure professional medical
assistance as soon as possible, normally by calling 911, and then
administer first aid, if appropriately trained.
Emergencies require prompt action and quick judgment. For many
activities, Girl Scouts recommends that at least one adult volunteer
be first-aid/CPR-certified. For that reason, if you have the
opportunity to get trained in council-approved first-aid/CPR, do it!
You can take advantage of first-aid/CPR training offered by chapters
of the American Red Cross, National Safety Council, EMP America,
American Heart Association or other sponsoring organizations approved
by your council. As a partner of GSUSA, American Red Cross offers
discounts on certification courses.
Caution: First-aid/CPR training that is available
entirely online does not satisfy Girl Scouts' requirements. Such
courses do not offer enough opportunities to practice and receive
feedback on your technique. If you're taking a course not offered by
one of the organizations listed in the previous paragraph, or any
course that has online components, get approval from your support team
or council prior to enrolling in the course.
A first-aider is an adult volunteer who has taken Girl
Scout-approved first-aid and CPR training that includes specific
instructions for child CPR. If, through the American Red Cross,
National Safety Council, EMP America, or American Heart Association,
you have a chance to be fully trained in first-aid and CPR, doing so
may make your activity planning go a little more smoothly.
The Safety Activity Checkpoints always tell you when a first-aider
needs to be present. Since activities can take place in a variety of
locations, the presence of a first-aider and the qualifications they
need to have are based on the remoteness of the activity. For example,
if you take a two-mile hike in an area that has cell phone reception
and service along the entire route and EMS (Emergency Medical
Services) is no more than 30 minutes away at all times the first-aider
will not need to have knowledge of wilderness first aid. If, on the
other hand, you take the same two-mile hike in a more remote area with
no cell phone service and where EMS is more than 30 minutes away, the
first-aider must have knowledge of wilderness first aid (see the chart below).
Less than 30 minutes
More than 30 minutes
Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or
Wilderness First Responder
*Although a WFR is not required, it is strongly recommended when
traveling with groups in areas that are greater than 30 minutes from EMS.
It is important to understand the differences between a first-aid
course, and a wilderness rated course. Although standard first-aid
training provides basic incident response, wilderness-rated courses
include training on remote-assessment skills, as well as emergency
first-aid response, including evacuation techniques, to use when EMS
is not readily available.
Note: The presence of a first-aider is required at
resident camp. For large events-200 people or more-there should be one
first-aider for every 200 participants. The following healthcare
providers may also serve as first-aiders: physician; physician's
assistant; nurse practitioner; registered nurse; licensed practical
nurse; paramedic; military medic; and emergency medical technician.
Make sure a general first-aid kit is available at your group meeting
place and accompanies girls on any activity (including transportation
to and from the activity). Please be aware that you may need to
provide this kit if one is not available at your meeting place. You
can purchase a Girl Scout first-aid kit, you can buy a commercial kit,
or you and the girls can assemble a kit yourselves. The Red Cross
offers a list of potential items in its Anatomy
of a First
Aid Kit (note that the Red Cross's suggested list includes
aspirin, which you will not be at liberty to give to girls without
direct parent/guardian permission). You can also customize a kit to
cover your specific needs, including flares, treatments for frostbite
or snake bites and the like.
In addition to standard materials, all kits should contain your
council and emergency telephone numbers (which you can get from your
council contact). Girl Scout activity insurance forms, parent consent
forms and health histories may also be included.
You Witness or Experience Abuse
Sexual advances, improper touching, and sexual activity of any kind
with girl members are forbidden. Physical, verbal and emotional abuse
of girls is also forbidden. All states, the District of Columbia,
American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and
the U.S. Virgin Islands have statues identifying persons who are
required to report suspected child abuse to an appropriate
agency. Therefore, if you witness or suspect child abuse or neglect,
whether inside or outside of Girl Scouting, follow your council's
guidelines for reporting your concerns to the proper agency within
For additional information please check the following resources: