Preparing your Recreation Department for an Emergency

Preparing your Recreation Department for an Emergency

Every day you provide programs and camps where children can develop, grow and learn lifelong skills. At the same time, the safety of these kids within your recreation center is paramount. When parents drop off their children at your community center, they’re entrusting you with their child’s well-being.

Emergency and medical information is key to any safety plan for recreation departments. Whether dealing with a fall on the playground, an allergic reaction, or a flood at the community center, your team needs critical information to respond in the best way possible. With the help of ePACT’s medical advisors, we’ve come up with 3 questions for every recreation department to ask themselves!

1. How do we access a participant’s emergency and medical information in the event of an injury or emergency situation?

All emergency and medical information should be easily and quickly accessible, ensuring that your team can promptly respond to any unexpected situation. Review the ways your recreation team currently accesses information, and seek areas for improvement. The main criteria to consider is who has access and how long it will take them to open and view this information.

For example, does your recreation management system allow frontline staff to access participant information, or is it limited to managers and directors in the office? If you are using paper forms, is it easy to for camp leaders to quickly find information in a single binder filled with hundreds of forms? Beyond that, is it even possible for your team to carry these binders or are they relying on a phone call to the main office to retrieve key information in an emergency?

Research shows that on average, it takes 5 minutes to access information that is stored on paper. The difference between accessing information electronically and a phone call to the front desk to retrieve these details can have a huge impact on your participants’ well-being. Having an online system with mobile app access will allow your staff to quickly access critical medical details and emergency contact information when it’s needed most.

2) Are we keeping our participants’ information secure?

In today’s day and age, we all know how critical the security and privacy of participant information is. Whether you use a recreation management system or paper forms to collect emergency information, try to implement as many of these standards as possible:

  • Recreation staff should only have access to those records that pertain to children they are overseeing. For example, a summer camp leader should not be able to view participants’ information who are not in their immediate group.
  • Whether information is accessible at the community center or on the road, it should always be secure (e.g. password protected or physically locked).
  • Ensure compliance with all privacy legislation in your region, such as HIPAA in the USA and FIPPA in Canada.
  • Once a recreation staff member is no longer responsible for a participant, their access to information should be removed. For example, be sure to eliminate access for a summer camp leader after each week of sessions.
  • Unless it is needed for archiving reasons, destroy confidential information as soon as possible.

3) Are all of our participants’ emergency and medical details up to date?

Often times, parents fill out medical forms at the beginning of the year or during registration for a program. Yet, medical information and contact details can quickly change. On average, 30% of forms fall out of date within 4 months of being completed. This can be a challenge for recreation departments to keep their customer records up to date.

To avoid this challenge, find a system or a process where parents can easily update their own information online, as changes occur. In addition, your team should receive a notification when information is updated.

We hope these questions from ePACT’s medical advisors will help you evaluate your process when it comes to emergency information. If you’re looking for additional best practices for the collection, storage and access of key information, ask us on Twitter or Facebook!


ePACT’s emergency network enhances safety and simplifies information management. Collect critical information online, and access it anytime, anywhere – even without an internet connection.

Request a demo today to see how ePACT can replace paper forms and complement your recreation management system.

See a Demo of ePACT