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Foreign Travel Crisis Response – The Emergency Response Team

 Developing the Emergency Response Team

Winter break means Mission Trips for many youth serving organizations throughout the country.  Unfortunately, lack of planning results in poor responses from many youth leaders both on the prevention side, as well as the crisis response.

When it comes to foreign travel injuries, it shouldn’t surprise us that there are a significant number of serious injuries that occur each year overseas.  Just pause for a second and think of the types of activities that travelers are involved in:  construction, hiking, mountain climbing, bluff jumping, scuba diving, white water rafting, and the list goes on.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks and reports on the activities which cause the most frequented injury deaths to U.S. citizens traveling abroad (see graph).

In my experience working with organizations throughout the country, few are prepared in-country to deal with an onset serious injury, not to mention the crisis response occurring on the ground back home.

In order to assist the Mission Team Leader to respond to an emergency situation or crisis, I recommend pre-determining an Emergency Response Team to respond to all levels of emergencies.  The following is a list of examples for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 emergencies.

Level 1Level 2Level 3
Lost documents/money/flightAlcohol/drug abuseDeath
Lost participantArrest/Criminal ChargesEpidemic outbreak
Minor accident/injury/illnessAssault (sexual/other)Hostage situation
Petty TheftFamily EmergencyKidnapping
Road AccidentInjury/Illness -seriousNatural/human disaster
Traveler DisciplineTravel DelayMedical EvacuationPolitical/civil unrestTerrorism


Blobbing Risk and Safety Management

Blobbing?  Blob On!

My role as a camp risk director has provided me the opportunity to study blobbing for the past twelve years.  In doing so, we have conducted controlled blob studies, worked with the Blob manufacturer, and monitored several organizations conducting over a million actual blob jumps in that period of time.  My experience with blobbing suggests that there are two general types of blobbing of which I refer to as “In-Line Blobbing” and “Freestyle Blobbing.”  Depending on what style of blobbing a camp chooses to adopt will determine the proper type of risk control measures needed. Rick Braschler, inline blobbing, freestyle blobbing, camp safety


“Ban the Box” and Youth Serving Organizations

“Negligent Hiring”  is typically charge number 1 or 2 against youth organizations in most civil cases that I work as a subject matter expert regarding youth safety and protection.  Why?  Because often the grievance deals with the actions of a staff or volunteer that allegedly resulted in an injury to another person.  Therefore, had the youth serving organization conducted a more thorough hiring process, perhaps this person would not have been hired, and thus not been on property to act in a perceived negligent manner.

In the pursuit of “reasonable and effective hiring practices,” many youth serving organizations have sprinted down the path of criminal and sex offender screenings, criminal disclosure statements, criminal or inappropriate interview questions, and the like.  All of this in an effort to determine if this person is qualified and eligible to work AT a youth serving organization around children, WITH youth and children directly, or in CHARGE of youth and staff during active programming.  Now, there is a push for privacy that may challenge the ability of a youth serving organization to garner critical information regarding a person’s prior deviant behavior in child abuse and neglect, and it’s called “Ban the Box.”  rick braschler, kanakuk child protection plan, child abuse prevention, camp risk management


Kanakuk Child Protection Plan Webinar


The Kanakuk Child Protection Plan (CPP) is an innovative, protection system to prevent, detect or respond to child physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse in youth serving organizations.  The goal of the CPP is to safeguard youth, detect perpetrators, and sustain the organization.

The Kanakuk CPP strategy consists of 4 Protection Zones, 4 Abuser Remedies, 3 Prevention Stages, 6 Abuse Management Fields, and over 340 measurable Protection Elements.

To listen to the FREE webinar on the Kanakuk Child Protection Plan, visit www.kanakukchildprotection.org/training under the FREE webinar section.  Make sure to download the CPP handout to go along with the webinar.





Kanakuk Kamps

Rick Braschler

Kanakuk Child Protection Plan


State to State Texting Laws

With summer 2015 now in the rear view mirror, many camp professionals are looking ahead to the open road on the trail of filling staff and bunks for summer 2016.  Well, along a similar theme of “while you were sleeping,” while you were at camp last summer, many states adopted new laws that govern the use of cell phones while driving on public roads.  While some guidelines deal with the use of hand held phone use, others deal with the texting option on these phones.  Nevertheless, here is a quick look at the most recent compilation of state by state cell and texting laws that fall into the category of “what you need to know!”

rick braschler, kanakuk child protection plan, child abuse prevention, camp risk management


Beyond the Background Screen – A Case Study

How confident are you in your background screening results when hiring eligible staff?  We’ve discussed the problems with criminal database over the years, not to mention the poor prosecution rate of offenders at 3-5%.  Recently, I conducted a local search here in Missouri and was alarmed at my findings.  See the story below:


G.L. Blake was on the Taney County Sex Offender Registry in 2007 as found on this website here.  According to web searches, he was charged with sexual assault in 1998.  But, according to the DOJ’s NSOPW search, his name is nowhere to be found on the DOJ national database here.  And, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registry, no records are found hererick braschler, kanakuk child protection plan, child abuse prevention, camp risk management


Food Allergy Considered an ADA Disability

There is much concern and debate about how the youth programming world will manage the scope and pace of the food allergen craze, not to mention the speculation of allergies falling under the American with Disabilities Act requirements.  Whether it’s dealing with medical diagnosis vs. pure suspicion, life-threatening vs. sensitivity, or allergy-free vs. allergy friendly, the issues are many and the problem is growing.  The old adage, “say what you mean, and mean what you say” will be very important as youth program leaders try to communicate with parents the type of program they offer, and more importantly, what type of allergen controls they have in place. 

Among those topics, the notion that a food allergy could be considered as an ADA disability is met with much bewilderment.  Why?  Consider the difference between a school setting where there is at least some containment of food ingredients in a static environment versus an outdoor wilderness program where storage is limited and the environment is very dynamic throughout the program.  Certainly, no single set of expectations can fully address the myriad of settings of which youth will be involving themselves in throughout the year.  Continue reading “Food Allergy Considered an ADA Disability” »


Camp Tree Risk Management Planning

Trees—they’re everywhere! And that’s good thing! Notwithstanding their essential value to the ecosystem, they’re an added treat to the camp experience in many ways. Unfortunately, just as water, snow, mud, critters, and plants provide both benefits and threats, trees pose the same to camps and their patrons. Tree and limb failures occur frequently in our environment, and when combined with the presence of people and property (targets), they can have devastating consequences.

While tree failures may occur frequently, they do not often involve people. In fact, according to the following illustration from “Living with Risk,” the probability of death from a tree failure is far less likely than other types of threats.

So, why the emphasis on tree threats given such an infrequent incident rate?  Simply stated, severity!  The following article will explore concepts in tree risk-management to equip camp leaders with reasonable and effective steps toward reducing the risk of tree-failure injuries.

Caring For The Canopy:  Developing a tree risk-management plan





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