What to do in an emergency

What to do, who to contact and how to deal with queries in case of an emergency

What to do in the case of an accident or incident

If there's been an accident or incident, these are the first things you need to do:

  • Keep calm. The most important thing is that you don't panic and you think clearly.
  • Make sure, as far as you can, that the girls and young women you're taking care of, and the other volunteers with you, are safe.
  • Call the emergency services if appropriate.

In case of a serious emergency you must then do the following.

  • If outside your guiding area, tell your home contact what has happened.
  • Call your commissioner to tell them exactly what happened and together decide what to do next.
  • Call our insurance department on 0845 260 1053 during office hours if it's a serious incident. If it's out of hours, please call the emergency PR line on 020 7592 1891 or get in touch with the insurance department on the next working day.
  • If it's related to a safeguarding issue, please call the safeguarding team on 0207 834 6242 ext. 3037 or the out of hours phone on 07508 032997. The out-of-hours phone line is for emergencies only, and is in operation 5pm-10pm Monday-Friday and 9am-10pm Saturday and Sunday.
  • Don't say that you were responsible or admit liability.
  • Get witnesses' names and contact details.

Keep careful notes about the incident and developments as they happen, including dates, times and names. Keep copies of any written information, including letters, forms or reports. Please send these documents with a notification of accident or incident form.

Your commissioner is there to support you. Together you should decide what action is needed, for example:

  • Provide support for those involved.
  • Contact your home contact and establish them as a central point where people can send enquiries, facts can be updated and so on. Alternatively, set up a central point to undertake this role.
  • Contact your local area's public relations adviser, and ask them to communicate with the relevant parties such as the local community and the media.
  • Compile a confidential report.
  • Provide support resources, such as helplines or extra people.

In the event of a serious accident or death, Girlguiding must be contacted immediately via the emergency PR line on 020 7592 1733 or the out-of-office hours PR line on 020 7592 1891.

After any accident or incident

If an injury or illness occurs to anyone during a guiding activity or on Girlguiding property, you should immediately complete a notification of accident or incident form and tell the appropriate commissioner.

The form and any additional forms or documents should be sent to the insurance team at Girlguiding HQ by post or by emailing [email protected].

Keep a copy of the form until receipt is acknowledged by HQ and then it can be safely destroyed.

If contacted by the press

Don't make comments to them straightaway. Instead, take their name and contact details, ask for a deadline and tell them that someone will get back to them. You can then pass this on to Girlguiding's PR team.

After an incident

You'll receive a notification from GO to confirm that the Insurance department received your notification of accident or incident form, and advising you about the next steps to take, for example:

  • Follow up with the injured person (or their next of kin) to check how they're doing and inform the Insurance department of any updates on their condition.
  • Review your risk assessment and update it if there are any changes that you could make to prevent this incident from occurring again. It's important that you always undertake a risk assessment before starting any guiding activities.
  • Take any follow-up actions identified when reviewing your risk assessment, for example repairing or replacing faulty equipment, notifying the venue etc.

The Insurance department will also send an acknowledgment letter to the injured person (or their next of kin if they are under 18). If the injured person needed further medical treatment, they're entitled to apply to the members’ benefit scheme, a discretional fund members can claim against, to recover some of the expenses they might have incurred relating to an accident or incident during guiding activities. The insurance department will send them details of how to apply to this scheme.

Following an incident, you must not admit liability at any time. Before taking any major remedial action following an incident, such as doing repair work to Girlguiding properties, you need to get agreement from Girlguiding's insurance department.

You should send any correspondence you receive about an incident to the insurance department – especially legal letters. Girlguiding has insurance to cover you against claims for accidents but you need to share the legal letter with the insurance department within 24 hours so that we can comply with the law. You don't need to reply to the correspondence yourself and no offer of money should be made at any time.

The insurance department will be in touch with you about what's happening once they've received and acknowledged it.

Girlguiding takes safety very seriously and the Insurance department monitors all accidents and incidents recorded during guiding activities. This helps us to make informed decisions about future training and support.

Plan safe activities

Some accidents and incidents can be avoided by careful planning. Find more information and support so you're as prepared as possible.