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
TOP 10 OUTDOOR SAFETY TIPS
- 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
- 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
- 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.