Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Experiential Education Supplement (EES) 7: Activity Technical and Safety Requirements

The organization considers safety and technical requirements, competence of leaders, and the abilities of participants when engaging in potentially demanding or high risk activities.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Experiential Education provides safe, activity-based opportunities for learning and reflection that support the achievement of identified program outcomes.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for activity preparation, including group safety and skill level
  • Procedures regarding use of protective gear and equipment
  • Fire safety procedures
  • Fire safety training curricula
  • Authoritative information regarding compliance with accepted standards for all climbing equipment owned or used by the organization 
  • Credentials of individuals responsible for supervising climbing equipment
  • Climbing equipment inspection and safety reports for the past 12 months
  • Proof of accreditation, licensure, or certification appropriate for high-risk activities
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Individuals and families served
  • Review personnel files

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.01

Before initiation of an activity, the organization:                                  
  1. orients personnel to the terrain, sites, or waterways that will be used;
  2. verifies that personnel have direct experience with, and up-to-date information about, the conditions that may be encountered; and
  3. provides participants with complete information about geographic boundaries for the activity, rendezvous times and places, and emergency procedures.
NA The organization does not conduct trips or activities away from the program site.

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.02

The organization evaluates potentially demanding activities for level of difficulty and undertakes only those within the competence of the leaders and the abilities of participants.

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.03

When the activity involves travel or movement, participants receive instruction in pacing, fluid intake, clothing and footwear, equipment, and possible hazards. 
NA The organization does not conduct activities that involve travel or movement.
Examples: Relevant activities may include hiking, running, climbing, canoeing, bicycle touring, or similar pursuits.

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.04

Participants and personnel use protective gear and equipment when appropriate, including:
  1. personal flotation devices (Type III) for water activities;
  2. location devices and reflectors for dusk and night activities;
  3. helmets for biking, climbing, caving, or other appropriate activities; and
  4. other protective gear and equipment, as appropriate to the activity to be undertaken.

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.05

As applicable to the activity being conducted, the organization maintains clear guidelines and trains personnel and participants on safely building and extinguishing fires.
NA The organization does not conduct activities that involve building and extinguishing fires.

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.06

Ropes courses, alpine or climbing towers, and artificial wall climbing activities meet the following requirements:
  1. the facilities and equipment used have been constructed by recognized experts in the field;
  2. personnel have been trained by recognized experts in the field and have a working knowledge of ropes course and climbing equipment elements, technology, construction, usage, and inspection; and
  3. appropriate inspection and safety procedures have been fully implemented.
NA The organization does not operate the specified activities or program components.
Note: COA does not approve, certify, or accredit ropes courses, alpine or climbing towers, or artificial wall climbing programs. The organization must seek independent review by recognized experts for that purpose.

 
Fundamental Practice

EES 7.07

Organizations that offer high-risk activities use certified instructors and maintain proof of accreditation, licensure, or certification with a nationally recognized authority for the activity being conducted.
NA The organization does not offer any high-risk activities.
Examples: High-risk activities can include:
  1. white water rafting, kayaking, or canoeing;
  2. snow and ice climbing or glacier travel;
  3. mountaineering, bouldering, and rock climbing;
  4. top rope climbing and rappelling;
  5. caving;
  6. river crossing;
  7. solo expeditions;
  8. activities involving flying, hang gliding, gliding, and parachuting; and
  9. other high-risk activities.