This is the final post in our Post-Camp Parent Survey Series for 2014.
As usual, parents often use the survey series to either voice concerns, or try to discover what procedures we have in place to deal with any kind of emergency.
I’m sure you can imagine that as a camp that’s almost 100 years old, we have extensive policies and procedures in place for emergencies and unusual circumstances. We actively train all staff to know about these and then we drill them and ourselves so that, in the event of the unexpected, we’re able to work as a fine tuned machine with each person sure of their role and duties.
But just to give you any reassurance and a reminder, I’ll go over those very briefly here. Part of our procedures is for accreditation with the American Camp Association guidelines and policies, and part of it is personalized to our own facilities and setting.
Bonnie Dawson (my beautiful mom) is in charge of all emergency procedures. Her formal title is Head of Special Events and we joke that emergencies are indeed “special events.”
As a matter of routine, all staff members receive a copy of the emergency procedures, and we also have copies in key points across camp for easy access for staff members. We also go over these in depth during the time before camp starts that is dedicated to our rigorous staff training.
The procedures we cover include flood, fire (building or forest), missing person, intruder, medical emergencies, and weather issues (including tornado).
Staff members receive the procedures before arriving at camp, but then have a session during Staff Training with Bonnie to go over them more clearly and to answer any questions.
Our procedures are color-coded, so for example a flood would be Code Blue. The “all clear” signal for all emergencies is Code Green.
Practice makes perfect
The staff practices an emergency evacuation drill during Staff Training, as well as a missing camper drill and an intruder drill. During Term Camp both campers and counselors combined practice fire drill evacuations from the Dining Hall and Play Hall .
Bonnie spoke with a company called Firestorm that rates camps, businesses, and schools on their level of preparedness, and then helps you become more prepared if your rating is low.
Not to crow too loudly but our rating was very high, and they said in fact that our plans are the best they’ve ever seen created by non-professionals! Woo-hoo!
You can look back on one sort of emergency — the derecho a few years ago — and read several blogs about how we handled the event and its aftermath which, I might add, we also used as a teaching tool to emphasize issues like resilience, adaptation, positive thinking, staying calm, and cooperation.
Ghany Girls always look for the silver lining. But it’s a lot easier to do so when you’re already prepared to weather a storm!
Still, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to e-mail me.
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls