Is it SAFE?

Heading into summer, hear from Enterprise Risk Management Chair, Jim Erlinger on ways to mitigate and manage risk in your Scouting activities.

Our Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) wants the Unit to participate in a new and exciting activity.  How do we determine if it’s safe and appropriate for the Unit?

A great Scouting journey allows Scouts to step outside their comfort zone, take pride in accomplishing something they weren’t sure they could do and have fun.  Seeing a Scout’s face when they first rapppel, complete a mile swim, raft through whitewater, or do an overnight backpacker make the “one hour a week” worthwhile.

Life is full of risk.  In determining whether an activity is appropriate for a unit, the risks of the activity must be mitigated to an acceptable level.  To make that determination, it is necessary to do a risk assessment. The four points of S.A.F.E. should be observed for all Scouting activities:

  • Supervision – Scouts are supervised by qualified adults.
  • Assessment – Activities are assessed for risk during planning. Verify the activity is not prohibited.  Risk mitigation is incorporated into the activity.
  • Fitness and Skill – Health records are reviewed, and prerequisite fitness and skills are confirmed.
  • Equipment and Environment – Safe equipment, courses and campsites, trails and fields are used properly. Environmental conditions are checked and monitored.  The location of the nearest medical facility is known.

The Guide to Safe Scouting is a terrific resource. 

The guide contains details regarding prohibited activities. It also provides more guidance on aquatic activities, camping, specific sports and activities, and insurance coverage.  Remember certain activities require leaders to be specially trained.


Despite best efforts, injuries and safety incidents do occur.  If an accident or incident is experienced, please complete and file an Incident report with the council.

These reports allow for an appropriate response and opportunity to learn how to improve our programs.


Let’s go have fun.  With proper risk analysis, planning and execution, we can be confident that the most dangerous part of our Scouting adventures is the drive.

Yours in Scouting,

Jim Erlinger

Chair, Occoneechee Enterprise Risk Management Committee

About Jim

Jim Erlinger is a member of the Occoneechee Executive Committee, Chair of the Enterprise Risk Management Committee, and a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  Jim is also the Crew Advisor for the newly formed Crew 722 and Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 219.  Jim and 3 of his kids are Eagle Scouts, and the youngest is currently a Life Scout.  Jim has been to all 4 High Adventure bases on his 10 High Adventure trips and is headed to Philmont in August, 2023.

Jim can be reached at [email protected].