Field trip supervision and off-site events
Field trips are fun. Everyone is excited, in a new setting, and doing special activities. As the organizer of the field trip, you are responsible for planning and safety. You may not be leading the activity, but it is your duty to supervise your participants. With that in mind, good planning is key. It is important to choose your partners (event hosts, chaperones, and supervisors) with great care. If your field trip is organized well, it will be educational, safe, and fun!
Questions to consider
Consider each of the following questions and amend your plan accordingly. Also, please discuss these questions with your activity organizer/supervisor, chaperones, risk manager, insurance agent, attorney, or any other relevant professionals.
- Have you met with the event host to discuss the field trip goals and objectives? Do they understand the levels and limitations of your participants in relation to their activities? Is it common for people with similar skill sets as your participants to engage in this activity?
- Will this activity require your participants to use unfamiliar equipment or tools?
- Have you given the participants a specific goal or task, i.e., something to keep them engaged?
- Will you rely on volunteers to help supervise or coordinate this activity in any way?
- Do all of the chaperones truly understand the activity, its location and surroundings, and the emergency protocols, i.e., contact lists, basic first aid, etc.?
- Will you utilize the buddy system, have scheduled check-ins, and require supervisors to do “head counts” regularly?
- Were parents or guardians included in the activity planning? Have they been given an opportunity to offer feedback beyond a permission slip or waiver?
- If you are transporting people, do you have a transportation policy and a vehicle that is used regularly? Make certain the driver is familiar with the route and destination.
- When hiring someone to transport on your behalf, make certain he or she is reputable. Get listed as an additional insured on his or her policy, and obtain a certificate of insurance.
- If participants are meeting you at the location, provide clear directions and meeting instructions.
- Make sure there is a viable first aid kit available. Also, make sure the chaperones and or hosts are trained in basic first aid.
- Should any of your participants have specific medical needs, you must make certain they are accommodated. Plan ahead if any participants require daily medication.
- Plan to accommodate any participant’s special dietary needs.
- If any of your participants have physical limitations, the event site must accommodate them.
- Specific event rules
- Clearly detail and post all rules and expectations so that no one is confused or disappointed.