Church website gives safety tips for pioneer trek and other activities

Credit: IRI
Credit: IRI
Credit: IRI

During the summer months, the number of Church activities increases for Scouting, youth conferences, ward parties, summer campouts, carnivals and other events.

To help Church members and leaders benefit from increased awareness and safety as they serve and participate in Church activities, the Church recently launched a new safety and health website at

“Safety is a shared responsibility between the Church, its leaders and activity organizers, participants and parents,” said Alan Rogers, a senior safety manager for the Church. “We want people to enjoy an activity but to be safe doing it. We have a slogan — ‘know risk,’ not ‘no risk!’ ”

The site organizes safety and health resources aimed specifically for Church members. There are fact sheets, resources and forms, links to activity policies and guidelines from the Church handbook, and training and video resources for various Church activities.

For example, the website is an important resource for members participating in pioneer trek reenactments, said Brother Rogers.

“Tracy’s Trek” videos offer a humorous but helpful look at trek safety.

Trek planners and participants can find links to trek reenactment resources and safety training. Three videos hosted by a young woman named Tracy document the stages of trek — Getting Ready, On the Trail, and Trials of the Trail. In each video Tracy and her friends introduce topics such as the importance of drinking enough water and avoiding and caring for blisters, all with a touch of humor.

Tracy and her friends help trek participants know the most important aspects of keeping safe and healthy. The website is not a comprehensive resource on safety, but does direct people where to find resources. “While we don’t cover every aspect of safety,” Brother Rogers said, “we point website visitors in the right direction as we highlight additional resources, while promoting and providing insights and training on the basic principles of safety. The site contains the same basic principles found in the Church’s Handbook 2, section 13, and in the First Presidency’s annual safety letter.’ ”

“We also have a fact sheets section that supplements many of the videos with a more detailed review of important issues. The information is presented from a Church perspective,” he said.

Leaders in the Church can play an important role in helping get the word out. Paul Rytting, director of the Risk Management Division for the Church, said, “We are grateful for ward and stake leaders who work so hard to remind activity leaders to be safe. We are especially grateful for all of the injuries prevented when members wear their seat belts, don’t text while driving and use two-deep leadership for all of their activities.”

In the Church’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual the purpose statement says, “The Church desires to protect the safety and health of its employees, volunteers, missionaries, and others who visit and use Church facilities and services. Preventing injuries and illnesses is a high priority at all times.”

With that purpose in mind, there are two main reasons for the creation of the new site. The first is to provide resources and information about activity safety. “We highlight and promote resources and materials that encourage safe behavior for participants during Church-sponsored activities,” said Brother Rogers.

The second reason for the website involves helping the general auxiliary presidencies to provide educational programs addressing safety and health risks. One of the most recent issues is related to communicable diseases in a childcare setting, such as a nursery. Mike Taylor, chief safety officer for the Church, has been heavily involved with this effort. Brother Taylor said, “The website also helps the Church promote safety and health issues.” There are several fact sheets that provide guidance on communicable diseases, service project safety, and other emerging issues.

A strong partnership for safety also exists between the Church and the Boy Scouts of America. Both websites share several links with each other. An additional link will soon be added to the Scouting section for the Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States.

The basic steps for planning a safe activity are:

Identify the purpose (Handbook 2, 13.1).

Adequate planning for the specific activity (Handbook 2, 13.2).

Leadership and supervision (Handbook 2, 13.6.2).

Discipline and standards (Handbook 2, 13.2.4).

Integrate safety into the planning process (Handbook 2, 13.6.20).

Follow the promptings of the Spirit (2 Nephi 32:5).

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