Our Council has many amazing outdoor recreational opportunities, but each area has outdoor health, safety and weather challenges. The remote and high altitude regions of our Rocky Mountains require special preparation and training for camping, backpacking and even for day hikes. Basic first aid training is not enough for mountain adventures.
We encourage high adventure crews to ensure that at least one member is certified in Wilderness First Aid.
Enjoy our magnificent mountain adventures, but help ensure the safety of our youth and adult leaders with appropriate training, planning, and equipment.
Use of Council Camps
Scout Units using Council Camps must be accompanied by a leader trained in first aid.
First Aid Certification Required
For Scout Units interested in using the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, Camp Patiya or Chimney Park Scout Camp, remember that an adult attending with the Unit must trained in first aid and CPR. A copy of the first aid and CPR certification must be presented when making a reservation at these camps. Without the certification, verification of a reservation cannot be made. Certification may be from any recognized community agency: American Red Cross, National Safety Council, etc.
The rationale for the requirement of first aid certification is simply that both facilities are a significant distance from emergency assistance; and in the event of an accident, injury or illness, proper first aid treatment could be critical. As Scouts and Scouters we must always Be Prepared for emergencies and a first aid & CPR trained adult certainly is a minimum standard to be followed. During the summer camp season, at the Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, it is a state of Colorado (Department of Human Services) requirement that any group taking a hike of any kind must have an adult certified in first aid in attendance.
Emergency Preparedness in the Backcountry
Preparing for potential emergencies before departing for adventures in the backcountry is essential to making sure that everyone makes it back safely. WCC_BackcountrySafety lists many of the critical considerations when developing your plan for the adventure, including emergency communications devices. Adding these to your pre-departure planning steps may well save the life of a crew member when the unexpected happens and help will be delayed. The author is Robert Amick, Western Colorado Council’s Vice President for Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring, as well as that council’s Risk Management and Health & Safety Committee Chair. He has extensive experience that is listed at the front of this article.
High Altitude Illness
Any group hiking, backpacking, or camping in high altitude regions is likely to experience acute mountain sickness (AMS), with the real possibility of a crew member experiencing life-threatening severe high altitude illness (HAPE or HACE).
Prevention is key and requires appropriate trip planning to allow participants to adjust to altitude gradually.
Timely recognition of symptoms and immediate response can make the difference between life and death! Basic First Aid training does not cover high altitude illnesses, and even Wilderness First Aid courses may cover it only briefly, so it is critical to be prepared to deal with Altitude Illnesses
- Cold Stress and Hypothermia (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
La Ecuación del Frío y Hipotermia (en español)
Winter Sports Safety
- The Winter Sports section of the Guide to Safe Scouting has been updated.
- Helmets are now recommended for sledding, and required for downhill skiing, snowboarding and operation of snowmobiles (full face helmets).
- Sledding Injury Prevention – American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- Winter Sports Injury Prevention – American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
- Colorado Avalanche Information Center – Current Colorado Avalanche Conditions and Forecast, Classes, Links
- Utah Avalanche Center – Online Tutorials and Training Videos
- Forest Service National Avalanche Center – Avalanche Awareness
Cold Water Dangers
June 20, 2008
The Council’s Risk Management Committee is concerned about the information that is being shared with the public about the swift waters and cold temperature of the water. They are concerned about the safety of our Scouts and Leaders, and question whether this is the right time of the season, considering added risk, to do any trip on the rivers.
- There should be a rescue plan in the outfitter’s protocols.
- Outfitter crew needs to be spread throughout the canoes.
- Possibly ask for a pre-trip survey from the local sheriff office by a member of Dive and Rescue.
- Be truly prepared and aware of the hypothermia issue. Do they have the right clothing to protect them … are wet suits being used?
- Is the chartered organization aware of the trip … have they also looked at the trip plan?
West Nile Virus
- Eastern Slopes Grizzly Bear Project
- Safety in Bear Country, Bear Facts, and Bear Encounter Stories
- Mountain Lions and Black Bears
Mountain Lion Safety
- Lightning Safety – National Weather Service
- NOLS Backcountry Lightning Safety
- National Lightning Safety Institute
- Storm Safety For Kids
Dehydration is a common problem year-round in Colorado’s dry climate. Drinking plenty of fluids is the key to prevention.
- Where do you find out about Fire Restrictions in Colorado?
- Where do you find out about Fire Restrictions in any other State in the US?
- Contact the land management agency for the area.
- Contact the land management agency for the area.