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Safe Scouting and what to do in an emergency...

The Purple card provides support for safe Scouting and guidance in the procedures for dealing with an emergency.

Emergency: What do I do?

In the event of an incident:

1.  Deal with the immediate situation and alert the appropriate emergency services, if required.

2.  Alert your Commissioner or their designate:

3.  Alert the emergency contact of those individuals involved.

4.  If you are abroad, alert any agencies required by the insurers.

5.  For incidents involving air activities or water activities in coastal or deep  sea waters notify the appropriate government agency.

6.  Inform UK Headquarters at the earliest opportunity if:

  •  someone suffers a personal injury or illness requiring a doctor, nurse,  paramedic, dentist or hospital.
  • someone requires an emergency service rescue. 
  • third party property is damaged. You will need to provide basic information about the incident including information about the injured party, what happened, where it happened   and who is reporting the incident.


In the event of a critical incident (one involving loss of life, near loss of life or collapse of a structure):

1.  Deal with the immediate situation and alert the appropriate emergency  services, if required.

2.  Alert UK Headquarters (you will need to provide a basic overview of  the incident, who is involved, where the incident occurred and Group information). A Critical Incident Manager will assist you and guide you   through the management of the incident.

Key points:

Do  keep a record of actions and communications, including details of others who may have seen what happened.

Do  keep calm and ask for support where needed.

Do refer all news media to the Duty Media Officer and seek support before  talking to the media by calling UK Headquarters.

Don’t  make any admission of liability.

Don’t  initiate contact with the news media.

Don’t try to handle things on your own.

Emergency Card (Purple Card)
PDF – 81.9KB

Safe Scouting: a code of practice

Do  ensure all activities are approved, run and supervised in accordance   with POR (Rule 9.1).

Do identify hazards and discuss how they will be managed to reduce risk (see the Activities - Risk Assessment factsheet; Staying Safe checklists for managers, Executive Committees and section leaders).

Do find the most effective and appropriate way to communicate the risks  and controls identified.

Do  ensure all meetings, events or activities have an identified leader in charge that oversees the activity and all adults and young people. This includes responsibility for registers, headcounts, allocation of roles to specific adults and checking they are aware of their specific responsibilities (see leader in charge info at scouts.org.uk/safety). The best way of doing this is for all adults who will be involved in the activity to agree which one of them will undertake this role. Do – give young people and adults appropriate training, guidance and rules.

Do be prepared to deal with accidents (have a first aid kit, a robust InTouch system and relevant emergency contact details).

Do consider any additional needs of those taking part.

Do review an activity if conditions or equipment change significantly.

Don’t be afraid to stop or alter an activity being run by you or another leader.

Don’t put your needs above those of young people. Ensure activities are appropriate for the young people involved.

Don’t ignore concerns expressed by adults or young people.

Don’t assume that someone else is managing safety – always check.

Purple Card

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Reporting potential accidents

•  If you see an activity, premises or equipment which is potentially  dangerous, report it to the premises manager, line manager or activity organiser immediately.

•  If your concerns are ignored, contact the responsible GSL/Commissioner or body.

Reporting near misses

We would like to hear about any situations that could have led to injury, illness or damage. This is especially important where the issue relates to equipment or the process followed and to help us improve the advice and information we give to the movement and prevent future incidents. Near misses can be reported at scouts.org.uk/nearmiss.

Contact details UK Headquarters – including notification of incidents, critical incident  support and contacting the Duty Media Officer

0345 300 1818

020 8433 7100

+44 20 8433 7100

Please save these numbers in your phone.