If an Accident or Incident Occurs?
Activity leaders should promptly notify the bishop and stake president if an accident, injury, or activity-related illness occurs on Church property or during a Church-sponsored activity. The bishop, stake president, or designated member with knowledge of the incident should promptly report the incident online at incidents.ChurchofJesusChrist.org using the Global Incident Reporting system (GIR).
For the essential principles governing incident or accident reporting or response, see General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 126.96.36.199, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
If Someone Is Injured?
In the United States or Canada, the Church offers Church Activity Medical Assistance (CAMA), which provides secondary medical bill assistance to those injured in Church-sponsored activities. This is designed to supplement, not replace, a person’s own health insurance (see General Handbook, 188.8.131.52). Local priesthood leaders can request assistance for certain medical or funeral expenses. The CAMA program is administered by Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA) on behalf of the Church. See the current DMBA CAMA handbook for information on how this assistance is provided. (Visit dmba.com/churchactivity for details.)
Outside the United States and Canada, priesthood leaders should contact the area office for guidance.
To Be Prepared for an Emergency?
Leaders should be prepared for emergencies that may occur. Where appropriate, review emergency procedures with activity leaders.
- If activities take place at a distance from emergency services, consider whether individuals trained in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), or advanced first aid need to accompany the group.
- Determine how to respond during severe weather or other emergencies typical for the area. If an activity is dependent on the weather, consider the need for alternate plans.
- Identify the contact information for the local emergency services near this activity (law enforcement, fire department, nearest medical facility, or ambulance). Provide this information to activity leaders so it is readily accessible.
- In areas of limited communication, consider how to maintain contact with emergency services.
For more information on reporting an accident or incident, see “If an Accident or Incident Occurs?” above or General Handbook, 184.108.40.206.
To Focus on Activity Safety?
Begin with careful planning to ensure that activities accomplish gospel-centered purposes and meet the needs of those who participate.
- Plan age-appropriate activities.
- Plan events and activities for which leaders and youth have appropriate fitness levels. Carefully consider individual medical risk factors.
- Before holding an activity, leaders should instruct all participants in safety practices unique to the activity.
- Leaders and youth should know and abide by all laws and safety guidelines pertaining to the activity or property.
For Church-sponsored activities that require special considerations,* an overnight stay, or travel outside the local area, leaders should use the Church’s Event and Activity Plan and Permission and Medical Release Form.
*Special considerations are activities that are “out of the ordinary” for participants, such as a challenge course, zip line, whitewater rafting, climbing, rappelling, swimming, or shooting activities which may require additional mitigation planning to reduce the risk or potential for injury.
To minimize the possibility of injury or illness during activities, determine the need for professional guides or for individuals with applicable training or certification to help plan the activity and accompany the group. Also consider preparation and training for participants in advance of the activity. Priesthood and activity leaders should refer regularly to chapter 20 of the General Handbook for guidelines regarding safety. Additional safety guidelines may be found on safety.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
To Better Understand the Risk Exposure?
When planning activities, inform and ask, “Are participants, parents, and leaders aware of and willing to accept the potential risks associated with this activity?” and “Do they wish to participate?”
Regarding personal liability, the Church counsels members to be wise and self-reliant and to accept responsibility for their actions. Where possible, members who oversee activities “should protect themselves by carrying reasonable amounts of liability insurance. Such insurance may be available through homeowners insurance or other policies” (General Handbook, 220.127.116.11).
What does this mean? If someone is injured during a Church-sponsored activity and a lawsuit is filed asserting negligence, those individuals associated with the activity may first need to use their own personal liability insurance. Common insurance policies available include homeowners, renters, auto, or other insurance policies. After available insurance limits are exhausted, the Church will stand with and protect Church volunteers who are within the scope of their volunteer assignment, unless the act was criminal or intentional.
If the Activity Requires Travel?
Leaders should follow the travel policies outlined in General Handbook, 20.6.24, including the following:
- Long-distance travel for activities is discouraged.
- Vehicles should be in safe operating condition.
- When participants travel in private passenger vehicles, each person should have a seat belt and use it.
- Drivers should be licensed, responsible adults, and each vehicle should be covered by reasonable insurance.
- Appropriate forms completed if driving outside the local area (as defined by stake presidents or local coordinating councils, see General Handbook, 20.6.24).
- Drivers should obey all laws.
- Drivers should not drive when drowsy, use a mobile phone while driving, or engage in behaviors that would distract them.
- Whenever possible, an adult should not be one-on-one with youth.
Members who travel for Church-sponsored activities are encouraged to use the Event and Activity Plan as a planning resource tool.
To Follow Children and Youth Protection Guidelines?
Church activities are opportunities for children and youth to feel the love of the Savior and the influence of the Holy Ghost. While participating, children and youth need to feel safe and protected. Leaders and teachers should follow the Savior’s example of love and concern for children. The following resources help children, youth, and leaders know how to respond to issues associated with abuse, including reporting responsibilities:
- Protecting Children and Youth (training, key principles, and FAQ)
- In Crisis? Talk Now
- Counseling Resources
- Preventing and Responding to Abuse (instruction outline for stake and ward council meetings)
If Chaperones Are Required?
- At least two adult supervisors must be present at all Church-sponsored activities attended by children, youth, and young single adults. (See General Handbook, 20.7.1.)
If an Activity Requires an Overnight Stay?
- Requires approval by bishop or stake president.
- All Church-sponsored overnight activities must include at least two adult leaders.
- Leaders arrange sleeping accommodations so that male and female participants do not sleep in immediate proximity to each other.
- Male and female leaders must have separate sleeping facilities.
- A child or youth may not stay in the same tent or room as an adult unless (1) the adult is his or her parent or guardian or (2) there are at least two adults in the tent or room who are the same gender as the children or youth.
- If adult leaders and children or youth share other overnight facilities, such as a cabin, there must be at least two adults in the facility, and they must be the same gender as the child or youth.
If a Participant Demands That They Have a Right to Participate?
Leaders, parents, youth, and children should understand that participation in an activity is a privilege, not a right, and can be revoked if participants behave inappropriately or if they pose a risk to themselves or others. Leaders should communicate these expectations to parents and participants. (See First Presidency Safety in Church Activities letter.)