Be Prepared in a winter emergency


For those of us working at the BSA National Office, this would've been the only way to make it to work this morning.

With roads that look more like skating rinks all across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I’m glad that the BSA National Office is closed today.

But just because I can’t make it to the office doesn’t mean I can’t share my thoughts with you on this blog. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I’m coming to you live from my living room!

This winter weather that’s gripping the country had me thinking about how Scout packs, troops, and crews can be affected by cold weather and icy roads.

When the snow and freezing rain hit, do you cancel your unit’s weekend plans or press on? Who makes the call in those situations? When do you decide to turn back? And how do you inform parents about trip cancellations?

The Guide to Safe Scouting offers tips about how to prepare for emergencies, such as what to include in an emergency preparedness kit (food, water, a flashlight, etc.).

There’s also great advice on camping in the winter.

But when it comes to the “Go” or “No Go” decision, that’s left up to individual units to decide what’s best.

Unit leaders should review up-to-date weather forecasts and check their state’s department of transportation Web site before making the final call. Remember to Be Prepared, and you can ensure that your guys have a fun and safe time.

How does your unit make this call? Leave a comment below to share your experiences with fellow Scouters.

5 thoughts on “Be Prepared in a winter emergency

  1. Well, our group never cancels an outing, parents choose to keep there kids home. We press on and give the best program we can at all times.. Well if there is State of Emergency we will abide, but by them most parents are already keeping them at home.

  2. Speaking of using technology, I have a Twitter feed that gives me status updates from the National Weather Service for our area.

    We actually did postpone a camp out once because of a severe lightning storm. It was the first weekend of August, so we were still able to get a camp out in later that month. Don’t let the determination to have a camp out override good judgment.

  3. For troop meetings, if school is cancelled, the meeting is cancelled. That’s easy to remember.

    We postponed a weekend camp once due to blizzard here in MN. The SPL and I (SM) talked on the phone since it was snowing and forecast was for 6 inches Friday evening. He called a couple PLs and then called me back to say they would leave the next morning instead. His guys passed the word to the scouts and I contacted the drivers.

    I can’t envision cancelling an outing due to a forecast days in the future. Discussing alternate plans makes sense, but not cancelling until it was fairly obvious that travel was too dangerous.

    Camping with snow and bad weather is part of the challenge – this was us last month:

  4. My Venturing crew was planning a camp for this weekend, but with overnight lows dipping to 20 below the last couple days, they decided to postpone the camp and try again in a couple weeks. It was their decision.

  5. We do as SM Paul: No School, No Scouts. That includes early outs.

    This has had a big effect on some of our Cub Scout dens, and may delay our Pinewood Derby. January thru March we usually just plan an automatic Snow Day for Pack events.

    On the other hand, our Troop meets on Sundays and I can walk to the Scout Building from home, so we would only cancel regular meetings if I can’t get 2-deep leadership. A Scout is Prepared.

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