Camp Preparedness


Most summer camps in Yavapai County exist within the Wildland Urban Interface so it is important to be prepared.

We highly encourage planning be done at the camp level but also encourage you to coordinate and connect with camps nearby. Here are some steps on how you can be better prepared: 

Identify camp hazards and conduct a risk assessment.

Once a year, go through with your staff and identify potential risks or hazards that exist at your camp.  Some may be repeated items (i.e. wildfire). You should identify not just natural hazards, but man-made hazards, public health hazards, and safety and security hazards and assess the risks.

Eliminate or mitigate medium to high risks.

Identify means to eliminate or mitigate these risks.  For example, wildfire is best mitigated through defensible space or firewise practices. See Yavapai Firewise for more information.


Create an emergency response and recovery plan.

Camp planning needs to be done at the local level because you know your camp. It also needs to be kept current.  Plans with dust that haven't been touched in several years do not do anyone any good and are likely not valid. As you either start writing your plan or look to update your plan identify: 

Key contacts - local fire, police, hospitals, utility providers, emergency management office (that's us!)

Roles and responsibilities - for staff before, during, and after an incident

Response procedures: for evacuations (including relocation sites, reunification procedures, transportation), sheltering in place (for lightening or public safety issues), lockdowns, communication for parents, site security, etc. 

Diagrams and maps of camps - if possible, also of each building. If you have this information, this is also beneficial to first responders and the YCOEM. 

Locations of key utility shut-off valves and switches. 

Access to keys for locks, doors and gates

Recovery - system to document and log calls, events and claims; coordination with mental health resources; procedures for serious injuries; procedures to conduct after-action reviews; procedures to integrate lessons learned into the plan as needed. 

Train the staff and practice the plan.

Introduce the plan to the staff and talk through how it will bee used in different scenarios. 

Conduct drills with the staff and eventually with campers. 

In the event of an emergency, we all fall back to our basic level of training: make sure you are prepared. 


Update the risk assessment and update the plan.

Make sure you update the risk assessments and update the plan on a regular basis (at least yearly before a new camp season). 


Transportation Consideration

The Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management will coordinate with Prescott Unified School District for bus transportation but have a contingency in place. While the fire management agencies and Sheriff's Office take camp locations and attendance into consideration (which is also why reporting attendance numbers to YCOEM is important) these situations are quickly evolving and sometimes move faster than what can be planned for. Additionally, if there is a number of people competing for the limited number of buses with drivers - it creates a problem. 

It's a possibility - but have a backup plan in place. 


Outdoor Preparedness

Engaging in camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities provides an excellent opportunity to connect with nature, but it is crucial to be well-prepared. Here are some tips to ensure your safety and readiness while venturing into the outdoors:

  1. Thorough Planning: Conduct thorough research about your destination, trail, or campsite, including the terrain, weather conditions, and potential hazards.
  2. Share Your Plans: Inform a trusted friend or family member about your outdoor plans, including your itinerary and expected return date.
  3. Gear Check: Ensure you have all the necessary gear, such as a reliable tent, sleeping bag, appropriate clothing for the conditions, and cooking equipment.
  4. Water and Food: Carry an ample supply of water and food for your adventure, considering potential delays.
  5. Navigation: Take along maps, a compass, and if possible, a GPS device. Familiarize yourself with the route before you embark.
  6. First Aid Kit: Pack a well-equipped first aid kit and familiarize yourself with its contents and their usage.
  7. Fire Safety: Research fire regulations in your area and bring a camp stove for cooking. Ensure you have fire-starting materials.
  8. Leave No Trace: Adhere to Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment. Pack out all trash and waste.
  9. Wildlife Awareness: Educate yourself about the local wildlife and learn how to safely coexist. Store food securely to prevent attracting animals.
  10. Weather Preparedness: Check the weather forecast before your trip and be prepared for changing conditions.
  11. Emergency Communication: Carry a reliable communication device, such as a satellite phone or locator beacon, in case of emergencies.
  12. Trail Etiquette: Follow trail etiquette by yielding to other hikers, maintaining reasonable noise levels, and respecting nature.
  13. Campsite Selection: Choose a campsite at least 200 feet away from water sources and follow all established camping regulations.
  14. Water Purification: If relying on natural water sources, carry suitable purification tools like filters or purification tablets.
  15. Buddy System: Whenever possible, go camping or hiking with a buddy for increased safety.
  16. Shelter Building: Familiarize yourself with basic shelter-building skills in case you need to improvise shelter during an emergency.
  17. Know Your Limits: Do not push yourself beyond your physical or mental limits. Turn back if conditions become too challenging.
  18. Wilderness First Aid: Consider taking a wilderness first aid course to enhance your preparedness for injuries in remote areas.
  19. Respect Nature: Treat the outdoors with respect, refraining from picking plants, disturbing wildlife, or leaving any sort of graffiti.
  20. Permits and Regulations: Check if any permits are required for camping or hiking in your chosen area and always follow park regulations.

Prioritize safety and preparedness during your outdoor adventures. Enjoy the beauty of nature while being responsible and well-prepared.