State Camp Safety Advisory Council (SCSAC) January 25, 2010, Meeting Minutes

Roll Call

Members Present

  • George G. Coleman
  • Jordan Dale
  • Dawn Ewing
  • Gordon Felt
  • Douglas Pierce
  • Judith H. Reilly
  • Patricia Skinner

Members Absent

  • Robert Scheinfeld (participated by phone)

Department of Health Staff Present

  • Richard Svenson, New York State Dept. of Health (DOH)
  • Michael Cambridge, DOH
  • Douglas Sackett, DOH
  • Timothy Shay, DOH
  • James Maurer, DOH
  • Nancy Port, DOH

Chairperson Jordan Dale called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m. in the 4th floor conference room, 547 River Street, Troy, New York. Mr. Shay called the roll; Gordon Felt was not present, Rob Scheinfeld participated by phone and there was one vacant position. A quorum was present. Gordon Felt arrived at 10:58 a.m.

The minutes from the October 22, 2009, SCSAC meeting were unanimously approved.

Old Business

State Camp Safety Advisory Council Membership Update

Mr. Shay reported that the candidate identified to fill the vacant position, formally held by Robert Geraci and representing municipal camps, was proceeding through the vetting process.

As specified in the Council's Bylaws, the annual elections for Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson were held. Jordan Dale and Judith Reilly were unanimously re-elected as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, respectively.

Department of Labor (DOL) Regulation of Amusement Devices at Children's Camps

Mr. Pico Ben-Amotz, the DOL's Deputy Commissioner of Labor for Worker Protection, discussed the DOL's current and future oversight of amusement devices at summer camps. For the 2010 season, DOL oversight at children's camps will remain the same as last year. DOL will continue to permit amusement devices that were previously permitted and will not seek to permit additional "soft" devices, such as challenge courses, which the DOH currently requires to meet industry standards. DOL intends to work with DOH and industry to develop legislation to more clearly define DOL oversight at camps. In the interim, DOH staff will survey camp operators to determine the amount of insurance coverage currently held for challenge courses.

Amendments to Subpart 7-2 of the NYS Sanitary Code

  • Day Camp Definition – "Nonpassive Recreational Activities with Significant Risk of Injury"

    Mr. Shay presented proposed language for Subpart 7-2 to define nonpassive recreational activities with significant risk of injury. The definition was based on injury statistics for NYS day camps, published studies, and consultation with experts in the field of children's injuries and prevention. The Council discussed modification of the definition to clarify the types of contact sports that were included and include non-wilderness hiking and any program with swimming. DOH staff commented that a Fact Sheet is being developed that will list specific activities including contact sports and hiking that are considered nonpassive with significant risk of injury. However, because the PHL defines day camps as nonpassive recreational activities with significant risk of injury, a children's program with swimming as the sole activity does not meet the definition of a day camp. The Council suggested that swimming should not be considered the activity but, instead each type of swimming "activity" such as lap swimming, free swim, diving, learn-to-swim programs that occur during a swimming program, be considered individual activities. So two or more of the individual type of swimming activities could qualify the program as a day camp. Although DOH staff indicated supervision at public swimming facilities is currently regulated and protective of all users and types of swimming and diving activities, it was agreed to review the efficacy of this recommendation.

  • Camp Cabin Sprinkler Requirements

    Mr. Shay reported that DOH staff met with staff from the Department of State (DOS) to discuss implementation of the law which amended the applicability of the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code) to children's overnight camp's sleeping cabins. The law established Subpart 7-2 of the State Sanitary Code (SSC) as the reference standard for cabin sprinkler systems and occupancy standards. It was determined that in consultation with DOS, the DOH would propose standards for exempting certain camp cabins from sprinkler system requirements for new construction. The Council suggested that the size of a cabin, which will be exempt from sprinkler systems, should be related to the number of exits and travel distance to exits. Department staff stated that it is intended for the sprinkler system exemption to be included in the currently proposed amendments and that the final language would be shared with the Council for their comments.

    Mr. Shay requested advice from the Council about increasing the minimum occupant standards for sleeping quarters for new construction to 50 square feet per person for single beds and 40 square feet per person for bunk beds. The increases would be more consistent with the Uniform Code and more protective against disease transmission. The Council discussed the current standard in Subpart 7-2 of the SSC for six feet separation between heads of sleepers to prevent disease transmission and that the difference would cause dissatisfaction of occupants in the smaller cabins as new cabins will be larger.

Epi-pen Auto-Injector Training for Camp Staff

In follow-up to the Council's request last meeting, Mr. Shay reported that the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) was contacted to discuss making it easier for camps to participate in the Epi-pen program by eliminating the requirement for an emergency health care provider (EHP). The BEMS staff stated that it was important to have the EHP oversee an Epi-pen program and did not feel it was a burdensome requirement. The Council reiterated its past recommendation to require all camps to participate in the Epi-pen program and suggested that, if it would not delay the currently proposed regulations, it should be added. Department staff said they would assess the steps and report back the Council.

Mr. Dale asked about the status of the medical issues white paper, which was being prepared to provide an overview of camp medical regulations and concerns to DOH executive staff in order to assess the need for camp medical program changes. Mr. Shay stated that the paper has been drafted and is under review by Center staff. At this time, the Department is not seeking additional advice on the subject from the Council.

New Business

No new topics were discussed.

Public Comment

Mr. Dale asked for comments from the audience; there were none.

Proposed Topics for Upcoming Meetings

There were no proposed agenda topics for the upcoming meeting.


The Council adjourned at 12:22 p.m. after tentatively scheduling the next Council meeting for Thursday, October 14, 2010.