Prepare Staff For The Worst

Is your camp staff prepared for what it will really encounter during a major incident? Do the members know how long it actually takes emergency crews to arrive on the scene? Have you prepared the facility?

A mock disaster can help you prepare your staff for emergencies.

Build awareness, knowledge and confidence with all staff members–from counselors-in-training to the camp director–by creating a mock disaster.

The secret to hosting a successful training event begins in the planning phase.

Here are some tips to get started:

Establish Goals

Clarifying goals and learning objectives will guide the planning process, and help to evaluate if learning outcomes have been met. Consider the following when establishing goals:

• Who are the intended participants?

• Which employees have been identified as requiring this training? Is the entire camp staff to be trained or a targeted group, such as aquatics? What is the motivation to participate? How much knowledge and skill do group members already possess?

• What are the learning objectives?

• What is the purpose of this particular training session (e.g., to educate and inform, analyze and practice skills, test knowledge)?

• What specific need is being met in a training session? Is the focus on disaster preparedness, or other objectives, such as accessibility, customer service, conflict management etc.?

Brainstorm Ideas

Discuss the feasibility of the disaster or emergency. Are the activities realistic? Could a similar situation occur at your camp? Ensuring practicality is important for the staff to take the series of events seriously.


Now that there is a general concept for the disaster or emergency, check your resources.

• Is there enough staff support for the scenario?

• Are the necessary funds available?

• Are supplies readily available?

• Are local fire, police and EMS willing to participate?

Camp staff tend to the injured during a mock disaster.


• Identify possible dates and then select the best one. Take into account the time needed to organize and establish partnerships. Determine possible conflicts, such as employee availability (exams, graduations, etc.) facility programming, and weather.

• Determine the location/space for the disaster. Try to keep the disaster self-contained and in one general area as much as possible. This will allow participants to be able to see the entire disaster. Proper visibility will ensure staff members gain as much as possible from the exercise.

• Consider the weather if the mock disaster will take place outside or involve evacuation. Is there a backup plan if the weather is poor?

• Establish roles for the day of the event, such as who will simulate victims and first responders, who will prepare mock injuries, and who will photograph or videotape, etc.

• Establish the special needs of the disaster, such as supplies and makeup to create injuries, as well as specialized equipment, such as AED trainers, additional first-aid supplies, a smoke machine, etc.

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