State Camp Safety Advisory Council, May 2, 2012, Meeting Minutes

Roll Call

Members Present

  • Jordan Dale
  • Eric Bacon
  • George G. Coleman
  • Dawn Ewing
  • Robert Scheinfeld
  • Gordon Felt
  • Patricia Skinner

Members Absent

  • Douglas Pierce

Department of Health Staff Present

  • Michael Cambridge
  • Douglas Sackett
  • Timothy Shay
  • James Maurer
  • Edward D'Alessio

Call to Order

Chairperson Jordan Dale called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m. in the 4th floor conference room, 547 River Street, Troy, New York. Mr. Shay called the roll. Doug Pierce was not in attendance, and there was one vacant position. A quorum was present.


Mr. Shay announced that effective June 15, 2012, Council member Patricia Skinner will be resigning. He read a letter from the Commissioner thanking her for serving on the Council.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the December 15, 2011 SCSAC meeting were unanimously approved.

Old Business

Minimum Qualifications to Oversee Boating Activities

DOH staff were asked to evaluate the Department's children's camp safety plan template to determine if guidance on minimum staff qualifications to oversee boating is provided and if additional qualifications are needed. Mr. Shay reported that the safety plan template provided information on Subpart 7-2 requirement for an 18-year-old activity and/or trip leader who is competent and trained in the boating activity conducted, and Navigation Law requirements for motorized boats used by camps. The Council discussed the issue and had concerns about how camp operators would determine if staff are competent to oversee non-motorized boating activities. Discussions included whether boating and other activities on lakes should be supervised by a lifeguard, someone with a certain number of years of experience and/or someone 21 years old. Mr. Coleman made a motion for the Council to form a committee to develop a Fact Sheet/guidance on staff credentials for boating competency. Ms. Ewing seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. Mr. Dale, Ms. Ewing, and Mr. Shay volunteered to be on the committee. Mr. Scheinfeld commented that a code change would be needed to specify the minimum requirements.

Amusement Device Update

Mr. Shay reported that there have been no changes in the regulatory oversight of amusement devices at children's camps. At this time, the Department of Labor has not proposed new legislation and local health departments (LHDs) will continue to oversee these activities as in the past.

Epi-Pen Requirement for Camps

Mr. Shay advised that the Department is continuing to look into the Council's request to add a recommendation that camps participate in the Epi-Pen program in existing Epi-Pen guidance documents.

When asked if the Council had any feedback from colleagues on the economic impact if camps were mandated to participate in the Epi-Pen program, Mr. Dale reported that at a meeting in Putnam County, there were no objections to a requirement from those present. As stated in past meetings, the Council reiterated their position that all camps should be required to participate in the Epi-Pen program with enough lead-time for camps to comply.

Illness and Injury Statistics

The Department reported that the 2011 children's camps incident statistics were not ready for distribution.

Hot Water Temperature Requirements

At the last Council meeting, the Department stated that guidance would be distributed to LHDs advising of the inconsistency between the hot water temperature requirements in Subpart 7-2 and the Uniform Code and that the Uniform Code Standard should be applied at camps. Mr. Shay indicated that the Uniform Code does not prescribe a maximum hot water temperature and stated that guidance to LHDs will advise that hot water temperature should not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding . Based on guidance from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the maximum water temperature at camps serving campers with disabilities should not exceed 110 degrees.

First Aid Requirements

Mr. Shay reported that the Department is now accepting alternative first aid training for certain types of day camps. The 2012 First Aid Fact Sheet specifies the criteria for when the alternative training may be substituted and lists courses that may be utilized.

Green Cleaning Products and Pesticide Laws

Mr. Scheinfeld addressed the Council about potential environmental health hazards caused by chemicals used at camp. His discussion included information from a Mt. Sinai report linking 10 toxins and hazardous materials to several diseases in children, and current laws related to Green Cleaning and Pesticide Use applicable to schools and day cares. He also relayed the anecdotal experience of a camp counselor who reported a pesticide had been sprayed around her bunk to eliminate bugs. Mr. Scheinfeld requested that the Council and Department consider whether the State's Green Cleaning and pesticide use laws should be extended to camps and if the regulations should prohibit camps from being located near lands contaminated with toxic waste. Mr. Cambridge commented that research would need to be done to determine why the Laws that apply to schools and day care programs were not extended to children's camps and the proposal would have to be discussed within the Department to determine what action could be taken. The Council discussed the issue and there was a consensus that conceptually the laws that apply to schools and day cares for green clean and pesticide use should apply to camps, but the laws needed to be read, understood, and their impact assessed before making a recommendation. In the interim, the Council requested that the Department send out information about green cleaning and safe pesticide use to camp operators prior to the start of this season. Mr. Cambridge commented that the Department already has information posted on its website that is available, but agreed to look into sending out additional information to camp operators. The Council asked to be notified by the Department if information will or will not be sent out. Mr. Scheinfeld made a motion that the Council understands the importance of reducing or eliminating the risk of environmental exposures at camps and will look into Green Cleaning and pesticide use laws to understand their implementation and impact at camps; strongly recommends the Department investigate whether or not it would be appropriate to apply Green Cleaning and Pesticide Use Laws to camps and report back to the Council prior to the fall meeting. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously. The Department stated it would discuss the issue internally and with other State agencies and could report back to the Council.

Bed Separation Requirements

Mr. Dale expressed concern that the illustrations, provided at the last Council meeting, depicting bed configurations for maintaining six feet separation between the heads of sleepers requires more than the minimum 40 square feet per person specified by regulations. Mr. Dale asked if there was any evidence that separation distances that are less than six feet spread illness and what enforcement action there would be for camps not meeting the separation requirement. The Department responded that the six feet separation distance has been supported by the Department's communicable disease staff but it did not have information to show disease transmission resulted at camps when the separation distance was less than six feet because the information was not collected during outbreaks in the past. The Department has developed a tool, which collects bed separation information, for future outbreak investigations and directed local health departments to use it, so separation distances can be evaluated. The Department stated that the bed spacing illustrations were intended to reduce the air-borne disease transmission and not for limiting bunk capacities. If improper separation distance is identified, the camp operator should reconfigure to meet standards. Where the minimum separation cannot be achieved, the Department will determine the appropriate interim actions on a case-by-case basis.

Impact of the Regulation - New/Eliminated Camps

Mr. Dale inquired about the impact the revised day camp definition has had on the addition and/or removal of camps from the inventory. The Department responded that local health departments have been instructed to track that information this season. The Department will report back at the next Council meeting.

Immunization Records

At the last Council meeting, Mr. Bacon expressed concern that the maintenance of immunization records may be burdensome on municipal camps and the Department said they would look into the requirement. Mr. Shay reported that the Bureau of Immunization was consulted and advised that immunization records are important in the event of an outbreak and therefore, there will be no change in the requirement.

Open Discussion and Public Comments

Public Comment

Audience member Gene DeSantis commented on State Education Law, which prohibits any licensed professional from practicing his or her profession while under the supervision of a non-licensed professional in that particular field. He said that this means that camps cannot legally employ nurses or other health care professionals at camps, which is in direct conflict with Department of Health regulation for the camp health director. Mr. DeSantis said that he is working on legislation to allow camps to hire nurses, social workers, mental health professionals and/or other professionals and could use the support of the Council. Mr. Cambridge suggested that the conflict is a State Education Department issue and not a Department of Health issue and, therefore, is outside the Council's advisory role to the Health Department. Mr. Dale requested an update on the status of the Bill at the next Council meeting.

Next Meeting/Adjournment

Proposed Topics

Update on the status of the Bill to allow camp operators to hire licensed professionals.


The Council adjourned at 12:53 p.m. after tentatively scheduling the next Council meeting for Tuesday, October 23, 2012.