Tips for EMS Response to Summer Camps

This summer millions of children will visit day and residential summer camps. Camp programs are hosted at YMCAs, churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, and traditional residential camp settings. I am certain there is a summer camp in your service area.

Are you prepared to respond to a summer camp? Do you know where high risk programs – swimming and horseback riding – are located on the camp grounds?

In an article I published at I wrote these Everyday EMS Tips for ambulance service directors and personnel:

  • Learn the first aid qualifications of camp staff in your service area. American Camp Association (ACA) Standards require, at a minimum, adults be trained in first and CPR from a nationally recognized provider. But some camps will have a physician and or nurses on-site 24 hours a day.
  • Advise the camp to own and know how to use an AED, pocket mask, simple airway adjuncts, and high flow oxygen
  • Learn about the type of campers served and potential health problems.
  • Another ACA standard directs camp to notify local “fire and law enforcement officials” at the start of the operating season. Many camps also notify EMS services and hospitals. This is your invitation to visit the visit the camp.

You (and the camp directors in your service area) might be interested in two safety guides I wrote for Markel Insurance.

  1. Introduction to Wilderness Medicine is for camp nurses, adventure program directors, and risk management committees. The FREE guide includes information on wilderness protocols, selecting a wilderness medicine vendor, working with a medical director, and using wilderness protocols.
  2. When to Call an Ambulance includes several case studies, comparison of equipment available on ALS and BLS ambulances, and how to build a relationship with your local ambulance service.

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By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.