The health and safety of all of our Scouts, Leaders, and parents will always be a priority of the Patriots’ Path Council. Our Risk Management Committee has a number of helpful programs, guides and recognition to assist with Safe Scouting activities. They include:
The Council provides both liability insurance and accident insurance for its members.
Submitting Insurance Requests — We recommend submitting a request at least 30 days in advance of your event. This allows for any problems that might arise and also allows for information to come from the National office if needed. We cannot guarantee a certificate will be issued if the request is submitted with less than two weeks advanced notice.
What Insurance Does Your Unit Need?
General Liability Insurance Protection
The other type of insurance that is frequently needed is liability insurance. This insurance is provided by the National Office and is requested though the Council Service Center. This insurance is only needed when an organization (i.e.: school, business, attraction) requests proof of insurance for you to use their facilities. Many school districts and churches that are used by Units already have a copy of this insurance on file. If an organization requests that you supply them with a Certificate of Liability Insurance, you will need to complete a Certificate of Liability Insurance Request Form, which will ask for the details of your particular event. After this request is submitted to Council, it takes about a two weeks to process and distribute but may take longer. If you do not submit a request within 2 weeks of your event, we cannot guarantee that it will be processed. We recommend that you try to submit all requests 30 days in advance of your event to allow for any problems or for approval form the National Office. New Guidelines were issued November 1, 2017.
Hold Harmless Agreements
April 1, 2017
To: Unit Leaders
RE: Requirements associated with reserving facilities
Be careful what document you sign, or what “I agree” box you click online when making a reservation. You could be making yourself personally liable for anything that goes wrong.
Public and private institutions such as parks, schools, gyms and shopping centers occasionally allow packs and troops to use their facility for little or no cost. When an organization donates the use of their facilities we often issue a certificate of insurance for liability purposes, and offer a BSA-approved hold-harmless agreement. Recently, organizations have been including hold-harmless wording in their written applications and on-line reservation systems. A unit leader is blocked from making a reservation unless they indicate that they have read the fine print and agree with its terms. Often those terms are unacceptable to BSA, and no agreement of that sort binds the council or BSA unless signed by the Scout Executive.
When we are advised of these situations, we check the wording – often referring it to the national office or our corporate counsel for review. In many instances we agree with the wording and will execute the documents with the Scout executive’s signature. But in some cases the wording is unacceptable. For example, some public entities ask that we assume all responsibility for negligence of their employees. This is clearly a liability that we cannot accept. In those instances either we come to a resolution with the facility, or inform the unit that we cannot meet the stated requirements.
It is important to note that if an individual volunteer signs such an agreement, or clicks the “I agree” button on a website that he or she has assumed personal responsibility for that risk. No one except the Scout Executive can bind either Patriots’ Path Council or the Boy Scouts of America.
We recognize the administrative difficulty this poses, particularly for school districts that have adopted an online room reservation system. Wherever possible, we will work with those districts to come to a reasonable resolution. Your first point of contact on this issue is Brenda Sonzogni. She will engage the appropriate professionals for review and approval. Brenda can be reached at [email protected] or 973-765-9322, extension 253.
Chairman, Risk Management Committee
Chartered Organizations for Scouting Units
The general liability policy provides primary liability insurance coverage for all chartered organizations on file with the BSA for liability arising out of their chartering a traditional Scouting unit. Chartered organizations do not need a certificate of insurance. The chartered organization endorsement is a part of the insurance policy contract and is enforceable under the policy contract.
Accident Insurance Protection
All Patriots’ Path Council units automatically have Accident Insurance Protection. This policy is updated annually and covers registered youth and adult members while they participate in Scouting activities. Claims can be made and questions directed to the Council Service Center.
Proof of Accident Insurance coverage is often requested by other Boy Scout Councils and camps when you use their facilities or take part in one of their events. If you are asked to supply them with a copy of your unit’s accident insurance, contact Brenda Sonzogni at 973-765-9322, ext. 253 or [email protected] to obtain one.
Unit-Operated Buses, Vans and Trailers
The National General Liability Insurance Program for local councils is set up to cover the local council-related general liability exposure on a primary basis and to give our chartered partners the same protection for Scouting activities. However, this program was never intended to provide primary automobile liability coverage. Please ensure that your chartered partner heads and unit leaders are aware that we will not provide automobile coverage on a primary basis for their vehicles.
Unit trailers must be registered to the chartering organization, not a local unit. The owner of the vehicle pulling the trailer has the liability insurance responsibility. Most auto liability policies include coverage for liability resulting from pulling a trailer.
All vehicles whether owned or non-owned MUST be covered by a liability insurance policy. The amount of this coverage must meet or exceed the insurance requirement of the state in which the vehicle is licensed. (It is recommended, however, that coverage limits are at least $100,000 combined single limit.) Any vehicle carrying 10 or more passengers should have limits of $1,000,000 single limit. All vehicles used in travel outside the United States must carry a liability insurance policy that complies with or exceeds the requirements of that country.
Effective September 1, 2015, the use of 15-passenger vans manufactured before 2005 was no longer allowed in connection with Scouting programs and activities. Any 2005 or later 15-passenger vans may be used if equipped with Electronic Stability Control and seat belts for all passengers as well as the driver. This applies to all vehicles, regardless of ownership.
BSA Caving Moratorium
There is a disease that is devastating hibernating bat colonies in this region. Not much is known about this except the presence of a white fungus on the muzzle and wing membrane of infected bats. This is why it is called “White Nose Syndrome” (WNS). It is suspected that WNS is transmitted from one habernacle to another from both bat to bat, and cave to human to bat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFES) has called for a caving moratorium”in 17 states in the northeastern U.S. Please refer to their web site for more current information. As a result, many wild caves have been closed to recreational caving until a solution can be found. The NSS and the caving community in generally are supporting this caving moratorium. We are also asking all youth groups to refrain from any underground activities until the moratorium is lifted.
Please pass this information to your entire council using the communications methods at your disposal. Ask Leaders to check the National Speleological Society’s WNS web site (www.caves.com/WNS/) for up-to-date information before planning any underground activities. Many reputable cavers and outfitters will not be guiding caving trips because of WNS. Please watch for tour permits for caving trips and inform the council staff to ensure that the trip leaders are aware of the situation.
If you have any questions contact me through email at [email protected].
YiV and Caving Softly,
NSS Youth Group Liaison Committee, Chair and Regional Coordinator for PA, NJ, MD, and DE
Safe Swim Defense & Safety Afloat Training
Most accidents during aquatic activities are caused by a lack of adult supervision and discipline. Almost every accidental drowning can be attributed to the violation of one or more safe swim defenses.
Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat are required courses for your unit to participate in ANY aquatic activity. This training is offered to any registered adult leader, and is appropriate for Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Venturing or Explorer Leaders.
The training fee for this class has been eliminated. Patches will be sold separately.
For more information about the classes, contact John Dorn at our Cedar Knolls Service Center, (973) 765-9322 x238. Classes will also be held at the University of Scouting in October; however, a separate registration form will be required. More information can be found at our Do It Online page.
Facilitators wishing to conduct their own training should request a kit. Please see Facilitator flyer for more information.
Council Service Center
Certificates of Liability Insurance requests should be directed to Brenda Sonzogni.
Unit Health and Safety Chairman
The Patriots’ Path Council encourages each unit to designate a Unit Health & Safety Chairman. This person is recruited by the Unit Committee and would have the following responsibilities:
- Keep unit leaders informed as to the current policies and procedures related to Health & Safety, Accident Prevention, Health Education, Fitness and Aquatics. Keep all youth and leaders informed of the procedures and policies in the Safe Guide to Scouting Manual.
- Be on the alert for health and safety needs in the unit; conduct an Annual Meeting Place Inspection; and monitor camping and activity site locations for safety concerns.
- Be certified in the following areas or make sure other volunteers in the unit hold the following certificates:
- Community First Aid and CPR
Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat
Youth Protection Training Certificate
Serve as a Health & Safety Coordinator for all unit activities.
Work with the Unit Advancement Chairman to conduct Health and Safety-related advancements
Be responsible for reporting all accidents to the Patriots’ Path Council.
Conduct Youth Protection Orientation for youth and families using “It Happened to Me”, “A Time to Tell”, or our new Venturers’ videos