Safety
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Safety

In Girl Scouting, the emotional and physical safety and well-being of girls is our top priority.

Safety Activity Checkpoints

Safety Activity Checkpoints (SAC) is a resource that provides safety standards and guidelines for Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) approved activities. This resource provides general safety standards and guidelines by topic that will apply to all activities. These standards and guidelines are to be used together with the specific safety checkpoints for an individual activity. You may find the complete document here.

Safety Ratios

Knowing How Many Volunteers You Need
From camping weekends to cookie booths, adult volunteers must always be present to ensure their girls have fun and stay safe, no matter their grade level. 

Not sure just how many adults you’ll need for your activity? The helpful chart below breaks down the minimum number of volunteers needed to supervise a specific number of girls; councils may also establish maximums due to size or cost restrictions, so be sure to check with them as you plan your activity.

 

GSCTX Criminal Background Check and Registration Guidelines

GSCTX Criminal Background Check and Membership Registration Guidelines

  • A Safety-Wise adult is an adult volunteer that is a registered member of GSCTX and has an eligible Criminal Background Check through GSCTX's preferred vendor, Verified Volunteers, and is considered "in-ratio" as a responsible party per the adult-to-girl ratio guidelines in the Safety section of Volunteer Essentials
  • A Safety-Wise adult must be 18 years of age or older

 An Eligible, Unexpired CBC is REQUIRED to…

  • Be considered an in-ratio responsible adult (Safety-Wise adult)
  • Travel with your child's troop as a part of an approved Troop Travel Application
  • Travel as a troop with an approved Troop Travel Application to a non-GSCTX sponsored event or location
  • Participate in any overnight or resident camp
  • Drive any child other than your own child as a part of a Girl Scout event (to or from)
  • To participate at any Cookie Booth with any child other than your own child
  • To handle any money involved with Girl Scouts at the Troop or SU level (example Troop Cookie Coordinator or SU Event Coordinator)

An Eligible, Unexpired CBC is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to…

  • Attend a non-drop off GSCTX sponsored event, being responsible for only your own child
  • Participate in troop meetings or activities as a non-ratio responsible adult (non-Safety-Wise adult)
  • Be present at any troop meeting or activity that does not require a Troop Travel Application
  • Become an episodic volunteer as a non-ratio responsible adult (non-Safety-Wise adult) GSCTX Staff and/or designated Volunteers count as the Safety-Wise adults present in-ratio in these situations…
  • Guest Speakers visiting a troop meeting (Troop Leaders and/or the two designated, Safety-Wise adults in-ratio would be the responsible parties present)
  • Parents visiting a troop meeting who are not considered Safety-Wise adults in-ratio because they may or may not be registered or have an eligible, unexpired CBC on file (Troop Leaders and/or the two designated, Safety-Wise adults in-ratio would be the responsible party present)
  • GSCTX sponsored events that are drop-off events (GSCTX designated Staff and/or Volunteers would count as the Safety-Wise in-ratio adults)

GSCTX Membership Registration is REQUIRED when…

  • You are the Safety-Wise adult in-ratio at a Girl Scout event or activity

GSCTX Membership Registration is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED when…

  • You are participating at a Girl Scout event or activity but are not the Safety-Wise adult in-ratio

Criminal Background Checks
During registration for a membership, an adult is asked if he or she wishes to be an “adult” or a “volunteer” member. Choosing volunteer and selecting a volunteer role associated with a troop or service unit (such as “Troop Leader” or “Troop Friends and Family”) will initiate Volunteer Systems to automatically check to see if there is an eligible, unexpired criminal background check report on file for that adult. If not, the system will automatically authorize GSCTX’s third-party criminal background check vendor to send the adult an email invitation to complete a background check. No interaction of staff is typically required for this process to occur. In certain cases, an invitation to complete an online background check can be manually sent by a staff member to a volunteer. Paper criminal background check forms are also available for potential volunteers without internet or who speak Spanish and can be manually processed by staff with the third-party criminal background check vendor.

Criminal background check reports are generated by the third-party criminal background check company, which follows the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Federal and State guidelines. The background check consists of looking at the National Criminal Database, the Government Watch List Search (OFAC), and the 50 State Department of Justice Sex Offender Database (RSO DJO). Criminal records are verified at the source to ensure they are accurate.

If no criminal activity is contained in the generated background check report, adults are considered “eligible” and automatically placed into their selected volunteer role in Volunteer Systems. If criminal activity is found, GSCTX follows an adverse action process which includes determining restrictions, if any, that will be placed on the adult’s capacity to volunteer with GSCTX. As part of the process, every adult will be given the opportunity to respond to the criminal background check report and ask for a decision to be re-reviewed..

The Council will maintain the confidentiality of all Criminal Background Check information. When a volunteer is restricted or disqualified from a volunteer position, the troop leader, service team leads, and appropriate staff are only notified of the restriction/disqualification, not the details (report) of the background check.

Volunteer applicants whose records indicate a history of child abuse, violent crime, or sexual crimes will be denied a position. At the discretion of the council, volunteer applicants may be denied a position or have restrictions placed on their volunteer capacity due to financial irresponsibility or drug and alcohol related offenses. The response to any other criminal reports will be reviewed and determined on an individual basis, at the discretion and judgment of the council. If an applicant or a member of their household has been convicted of a crime against a child, to the best of our ability, we will not knowingly place the applicant in a position that involves direct contact with girls.

Visit the GSCTX Online Criminal Background Checks page for more information.

Travel Insurance

GSCTX requires that all trips lasting more than two nights/three days purchase optional activity insurance for all registered Girl Scouts. Insurance must be purchased one week prior to trip/event.

For all events held in the name of Girl Scouts of Central Texas that non-members may attend, it is required that additional insurance is purchased.

To purchase insurance, please fill out and submit the Insurance Request Form.

Incident Reporting

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.

To contact GSCTX to report an emergency:

  • During business hours, call our main line 1-800-733-0011. 
  • After business hours, talk to the Emergency Answering Service by calling our main line 1-800-733-0011, then Press Option 2.

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.

To contact GSCTX to report an emergency:

  • During business hours, call our main line 1-800-733-0011. 
  • After business hours, talk to the Emergency Answering Service by calling our main line 1-800-733-0011, then Press Option 2.

When calling the Emergency Answering Service number please supply the answering service with the following: State the emergency and degree of severity, your name, phone number and location. You will be called right back; remain at the location and keep phone available until contacted by GSCTX representative

Report as much information as possible to the GSCTX representative, including name(s) of victim(s) and the parent/guardian’s emergency phone numbers. The GSCTX representative will contact the parent/guardian.

DO NOT make any statements orally, or in writing, which could be interpreted either as an assumption or rejection of responsibility for the accident. Remember, notification of kin is the responsibility of the designated GSCTX spokesperson. Prepare a written report of the occurrence (see "Record in Writing -Accident & Incident Report" above) and participate in another follow-up if asked.

Property Emergencies
In the event of property emergencies after hours (i.e., plumbing, electrical, vandalism, etc.), contact the appropriate Site Manager or call the GSCTX After Hours Emergency Answering Service at 800-733-0011, Press Option 2. Provide the following information when calling: State your name and type of emergency, degree of severity of emergency, your location and or name of property and provide a phone number where you can be called right back.

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 this section

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.

First Aid

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.

GSCTX offers First Aid/CPR training courses. Check our events calendar on the GSCTX website.

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.

First-Aider
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).

Access to EMS

Minimum Level of First Aid Required

Less than 30 minutes

First Aid

More than 30 minutes

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR)*

*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.

First-Aid Kit
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.

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