Tuesday, 19 March, 2019 - 16:30
Teachers and Students ensuring they are safe on a school camp

Keeping you and your students safe on school camps, school activities and school excursions is critical, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ recipe for safety.

This guide looks at the essential elements to consider for general camping, boating, parks and forests, bushwalking, swimming and sun safety.

Whether you’re foraging in the forest, swimming on the coast, or exploring your local national park, you can get on the with the serious business of having fun while you learn – knowing that your safety requirements are under control.

Make sure that all your safety bases are covered so you can get out there and enjoy your school camp, school activity or school excursion!

Parks and forest safety

  • Be prepared and plan your trip
  • Be weather-aware. For weather forecasts and warnings see the Bureau of Meteorology website
  • Drive carefully. Follow normal road rules when driving and take special care when driving on sand
  • Be wary of wild animals and be very careful about approaching injured animals as they might bite and scratch
  • Never feed or play with wildlife
  • Wear protective clothing and insect repellent to protect yourself from stings, scratches and insect bites
  • Beware of bushfires. If there is a bushfire, follow the track to the nearest road, beach, lake or creek for refuge
  • Take your own supply of water.  If you need to drink water from creeks or lakes, boil it for at least five minutes, filter it or treat it chemically before drinking.


Camping is a great way to explore, enjoy and learn about the Australian bush. But the outback can potentially be a dangerous place if you don’t adhere to some simple safety rules.

The Queensland Government has a great general guide for safe camping.  The guidelines include:

  • Plan carefully and make sure your vehicle(s) and equipment are in good working order
  • Read signs and information carefully. Pay attention to any safety warnings
  • Supervise children, especially near water and in areas with potentially dangerous wildlife.
  • Bring your own drinking water. Never assume water you find is safe for drinking
  • Keep your food in locked containers or in your car to keep it safe from wildlife
  • Take extra supplies in case you get stranded by sudden weather changes
  • Wear protective clothing to avoid sunburn, bites, scratches and stings
  • Never feed or provoke wild animals—be wary of wild animals in the area
  • Be alert for sudden weather changes, particularly storms and cyclones. Be prepared to evacuate if necessary
  • Only light camp fires in parks where it is permitted. Many national parks do not allow open fires
  • Extinguish fires whenever you leave your campsite unattended; use water, not sand (it retains heat and can cause severe burns)
  • Never use portable gas appliances in your tent or van
  • If boating is part of your trip, ensure you carry a marine band radio and transceiver as many places are out of range for mobile phones
  • Be aware of tidal variations and strong currents—anchor boats securely.

Did you know that as little as one second of contact with a campfire 70 degrees or hotter will cause a third degree burn? Or that most campfire burns are caused by contact with hot embers the morning after a fire?


  • Take care near water and swim with caution. Supervise children around water and always swim at patrolled beaches
  • Be aware of hidden dangers in creeks, lakes, lagoons or the ocean. Swimming in creeks, lakes, rivers and dams is fun, but there are hidden dangers, which can cause serious injuries. Be careful. It is not the same as swimming in a pool.

Tips for swimming in creeks, lakes and rivers:

  • Check the current before entering the water
  • Seek local advice before you swim. Creeks, lakes, rivers and dams can hide dangers such as submerged logs and rocks and unexpectedly strong currents, especially after rain
  • Never dive or jump into any waterhole—you could seriously injure yourself if the water is too shallow or there are submerged logs and rocks
  • Stay away from waterfalls to avoid slipping
  • Beware of boats using the waterway
  • Avoid swimming near boat ramps or in boating areas
  • Look out for crocodiles and other dangerous marine animals.

Source https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency

Sun safety

The Cancer Council provides general advice for safety in the sun at its website, www.cancer.org.au.

The guidelines recommend that when the UV level is 3 or above, you protect yourself against sun damage and skin cancer by using a combination of these six steps:

1 Slip on sun protective clothing

Choose clothing that:

  • Covers as much skin as possible eg. shirts with long sleeves and collars
  • Is made from close weave materials such as cotton, polyester/cotton and linen
  • If used for swimming, is made from sun protective material such as lycra.

2 Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen

Make sure your sunscreen is broad spectrum and water-resistant. Don’t use sunscreen to increase the amount of time you spend in the sun and always use with other forms of protection too.

3 Slap on a hat

A broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat provides good protection for the face, nose, neck and ears, which are common sites for skin cancers. Caps and visors do not provide enough protection.

4 Seek shade

Staying in the shade is an effective way to reduce sun exposure. Use trees or built shade structures, or bring your own.

5 Slide on some sunglasses

Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98 per cent. Sunglasses should be worn outside during daylight hours.

6 Be UV aware

Be extra cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense. The UV Index tells you the time period in which you need to be SunSmart. It is on the weather page of most daily newspapers and on the Bureau of Meteorology website: http://www.bom.gov.au/uv/?ref=ftr

Source Cancer Council Australia