S.T.O.P. and Other Safety Measures Save Lives


S.T.O.P. and Other Safety Measures Save Lives
"Be Prepared"—More Than a Motto for Rescued Scouts

After being lost in the rugged Deep Creek Mountains of western Utah for more than 28 hours, four Utah Boy Scouts and their leaders were safely rescued because they knew when to S.T.O.P. The acronym stands for the following:

  • Stay put (It is easier for rescuers to find a stationary person than one who is moving.);
  • Think (Consider what resources you have should the situation extend into overnight.);
  • Observe (Take note of your surroundings; is there shelter from the cold or storms?); and
  • Plan (Determine what you can to do to conserve energy and be as comfortable as possible.).

Just in time for camping and summer outings, the BSA is sharing its tried-and-true camping safety tips. These commonsense tips can help campers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even families "be prepared" for any situation that may arise. While the Boy Scouts of America has vast expertise in hiking, camping, and exploring the great outdoors, these safety tips can be followed by anyone planning to spend time outdoors.

"'Being prepared' isn't just for Scouts," says David Bates, experienced outdoorsman and head of the Boy Scouts of America's Camping Service. "Before you pack for your next outing, add these simple tips to your camping checklist for a safer, more enjoyable excursion."


Know the area
by thoroughly researching the area where you are planning to go, or go with someone who knows the area and may have camped there before.
Leave an itinerary
with family or friends detailing where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you will return.
Hike with a buddy
or in a group of four to ten. Should a problem arise, such as illness or injury, one can stay with the injured party, and two can go to seek help.
Prepare for changing weather
by selecting clothing that can be layered; temperatures fluctuate at different elevations and times of day. Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes, and don't forget the sunscreen and insect repellent.
Know basic first aid
and check your supplies before leaving, making sure that you have adequate supplies to treat bug bites, blisters, or bleeding.
Have a compass
and a map, and know how to use them. If you take a GPS unit, recognize that it may not always work.
Take plenty of water
for drinking, as well as for cooking and cleanup. Allow at least one gallon per person per day. Don't forget you need to purify water taken from streams, rivers, or lakes.
Pack it in/Pack it out.
Scouts call it Leave No Trace. The environment belongs to everyone; protect and preserve it.
Care for campfires.
It is best to use a lightweight stove; however, if a fire is needed, take care when lighting or putting it out. Use the "cold test" after thoroughly extinguishing the fire, by having an adult run a bare hand through the extinguished coals and ashes.
S. T. O. P.
Make sure each member of the outing knows and understands the procedure and will employ it should they become lost or separated from the party.

For more information about Scouting, particularly its Leave No Trace and camping programs, visit old.scouting.org.