Seven Steps to Security

In other words, the best way to manage the risks related to campus access and visitors (authorized or unauthorized) is to consider and address every possible way that any visitor might gain access to the camp. This risk management concept relates directly to the legal responsibility (duty owned to the campers and the visitors) of the camp director and staff to consider the range of risks that are foreseeable.

Failure to address reasonable foreseeable risks can in a civil trial (in court) imply a failure to perform a duty owed.

If that failure to perform a duty owed, caused harm, the court will likely award a plaintiff damages. And, although the legal outcome may seem hard to bear, undoubtedly the memory/experience of such a failure is not easily forgotten by those most responsible.

The three risks listed below are inter-related, so in the seven-step process example they are addressed together as appropriate:

• Controlling all access to the campus

• Preventing unauthorized visitors on campus

• Managing authorized visitors on campus

Step One: Conduct a safety risk assessment of the campus with regard to all access points. Consider all normal routes of access, like roads, walkways, boat docks, etc., and those routes that are less obvious but perhaps more difficult to manage, like a published hiking trail through the woods, an isolated spot where one might beach a canoe, and so on.

Use your campus map (the larger and more detailed the better) and consider every access point about (or within) the campus perimeter.

Some camps are sited on water that provides for public access (lakes, rivers, etc.). These camps would also want to consider the shoreline as a potential access point for unauthorized visitors.

And, along with the identification of campus access points the staff should consider specific safety risks that authorized and unauthorized visitors might impose on camper safety.

Outcome (Step One): a comprehensive listing of all potential campus access points and a comprehensive listing of safety risks that may be caused by authorized and unauthorized visitors when on campus.

Step Two: For each access point identified in your safety risk assessment of the campus, identify several possible means to manage the access risk. For instance, you might manage the main entrance road to camp with a “gatekeeper” in a very visible location, such as at a gatehouse adjacent the main entrance road.

The location would be well-lighted at night, might have a mechanical means to actually prohibit access until it has been granted and the gatehouse would provide the gatekeeper with protection from the weather, a telephone for emergency, and perhaps even an alarm system.

Also, for each risk identified in your safety risk assessment of authorized and unauthorized visitors on campus, the staff should propose several possible methods for managing these risks.

For example, authorized visitors should really be “authorized” to visit the camp before they visit. This means that visitors are expected to gain authorization with the camp’s office staff (by calling ahead or through a pre-registration process for a visitor’s day), or at the gatekeeper’s checkpoint, etc. Each visitor might be required to wear a clearly recognizable badge or nametag that denotes that they have been “authorized to visit the campus” when they are on the campus.

Authorized visitors should be asked to sign-in when they arrive at the camp and sign-out when they leave. Authorized visitors should be allowed on the campus during specified times (on designated visitor days or evenings) and the camp should consider maintaining time limits on camp visitation.

Obviously, these policies are for general implementation. Exceptions to any visitation policy should be rare and managed only at the discretion of the director.

Unfortunately, few events in a camper’s life make them more homesick than a visit from a family member or friend who will go home when they leave the campus.

Clearly, if a visitor is authorized, they are expected to comply with camp regulations. Therefore, if a visitor is on campus and they are either not authorized or they are not following regulations, they become “unauthorized visitors” and can be arrested for trespassing.

Ultimately, camps should work very closely with local authorities to establish specific protocols for managing trespassers who have been identified by the staff (see also Steps Three and Four).

Outcome (Step Two): For each access point from the safety risk assessment of the campus, several means to manage the safety risks will be identified. Additionally, for each safety risk an authorized or unauthorized visitor imposes, there should be several means identified to manage these risks.

Step Three: Begin to create common strategies that manage one or more access points in either the same manner or from a common location.

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