State Camp Safety Advisory Council, October 23, 2012, Meeting Minutes

Roll Call

Members Present

  • Jordan Dale
  • George G. Coleman
  • Dawn Ewing
  • Gordon Felt
  • Meir Frischman
  • Robert Scheinfeld
  • Douglas Pierce

Members Absent

  • Eric Bacon (participated by phone)

Department of Health Staff Present

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

Call to Order

Chairperson Jordan Dale called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m., at the University of Albany, School of Public Health, George Education Center, Auditorium, Rensselaer, New York . Mr. Shay called the roll. Eric Bacon participated by phone, and there was one vacant position. A quorum was present.

Mr. Dale inquired about the qualification for the vacant position. Mr. Shay responded that the position was for a representative of children's interest and was previously held by Patricia Skinner from the Child Care Council. Interested parties can submit their resume to the Department.

Council Administrative Business

The Council welcomed Meir (Milton) Frischman who was recently appointed to the Council as a representative of non-profit camps. Mr. Frischman had previously been a member of the Council and has routinely been in attendance at Council meetings.

Mr. Shay announced that Mr. Dale and Ms. Ewing were reappointed to their positions representing non-profit camps, with terms to expire in 2018.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Dale brought the May 2, 2012 SCSAC meeting minutes forward for approval. He noted that a sentence was added to the previously distributed draft minutes related to the maximum hot water temperature for campers with developmental disabilities. The revised draft minutes were unanimously approved.


Mr. Shay announced that the Center for Environmental Health had moved to the Corning Tower in Albany, New York. The location for the next meeting has not yet been determined. Mr. Coleman asked that the Department keep parking in mind as it can be difficult in downtown Albany.

Old Business

Impact of the Revised Camp Regulations

As requested at the last Council meeting, Mr. Shay provided preliminary results of the revised day camp definition impact on the number of permitted facilities. He reported that based on a survey of local health departments (LHD), there were 49 new indoor camps, 96 newly permitted outdoor camps, 31 camps that were no longer regulated because they did not have an activity with a significant risk of injury, and 76 newly identified programs that modified their activities to avoid regulation. Mr. Shay noted that the 96 newly permitted outdoor camps had previously operated and met the definition of a day camp, but were not regulated because the LHD was unaware of their operation. Mr. Coleman asked if these camps were geographically diverse. Mr. Shay responded that they were. Mr. Shay also noted that during the 2012 season there were two near drownings associated with separate unregulated municipal programs that should have been regulated as a day camp. Each of the programs eliminated swimming and no longer qualify as a day camp. The Council discussed the impact and Mr. Dale inquired about the types of the camps that were deregulated because they did not have an activity with a significant risk of injury. Mr. Shay responded that information was not collected, but the Department could see if it was available. Mrs. Ewing requested that the Department keep an eye on the 76 camps that modified their activities to avoid regulation.

2012 Camp Season's Preliminary Overview

Mr. Shay reported that during the 2012 children's camp season there were no camp related fatalities reported. The Department is currently reviewing and assessing incident data from 2012, but a preliminary review showed that with the exception of gastrointestinal outbreaks, which increased, the number and type of incidents are generally consistent with past years. Mr. Shay reported that improper implementation of the Department's guidance for preventing and controlling outbreaks at camps, including the improper isolation of ill campers, was identified as contributing to on-going outbreaks.

Mr. Dale inquired about the status of the Department's final report on the 2011 camp incidents. Mr. Shay indicated that a draft had been completed, but has not been finalized yet. He noted that the number and types of incidents were consistent with previous years. Mr. Dale asked the Council if they thought the Department should only report unusual trends/issues to the Council in the future. Mr. Frischman and Mr. Scheinfeld commented that it was of value to have the yearly reports regardless of the findings. The Council discussed and agreed that they would like to have a yearly report on the number and types of incidents at camps.

Mr. Felt asked if the Department was aware of any bed bug incidents at camps. Mr. Shay stated that he was aware of one camp through DEC. Mr. Sackett commented that bed bug infestations are not considered a reportable incident, so the Department only hears anecdotally about issues.

Mr. Dale inquired about the increase in blue-green algae blooms. Mr. Shay stated that the number of reported blue-green algae blooms may be up because of increased surveillance, awareness and new protocols at beaches and water supplies. Mr. Shay stated that he was aware of one dog fatality associated with blue-green algae, but was not aware of any problems at camps.

Licensed Professionals at Camps

At the last Council meeting, audience member Gene DeSantis commented on legislation that he was working on to amend State Education Laws to allow camps to hire nurses, social workers, mental health professionals and/or other licensed professionals. The Council asked the Department to provide them an update on the legislation, although it was not a direct Department of Health (DOH) issue. Mr. Shay reported that legislation was passed that amended the Public Health Law (PHL) to allow children's camps to employ or contract with a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or emergency medical technician to act as a designated camp health director. Prior to the legislation, State Education Department (SED) law (commonly referred to as the prohibition of the corporate practices of medicine) prohibited camps from directly employing the specified medical professionals. Audience member Gene DeSantis, provided additional information on the legislation indicating that it also made it possible for non-profit camp's to apply for a waiver from SED to hire a social worker and other mental health professional. The Council discussed the legislation and its applicability only to non-profit camps. Mr. Bacon said that he liked the option for camps to hire licensed professionals, but would not want to see it as a requirement. Mr. Shay indicated that this was a SED issue and the DOH was not considering mandating licensed professionals at camps.

Green Cleaning Products and Pesticides

At the last Council meeting, Mr. Scheinfeld presented information on potential environmental health hazards caused by cleaning products and pesticides at camp. The Council requested that the Department send out information about green cleaning and safe pesticide use to camp operators and investigate whether or not it would be appropriate to apply Green Cleaning and Pesticide Use Laws to camps. Mr. Shay reported that information on green cleaning and safe pesticide use was distributed to LHDs prior to the 2012 season for dissemination to camps. The Department was also able to determine that it does not appear there was any legislative intent to exclude camps from Green Cleaning and Pesticide Laws. Mr. Coleman commented that for camps to best implement the use of new products they would need information early in the year prior to ordering supplies.

The Council discussed what step could be taken to move forward with extending Green Cleaning and Pesticides Laws to camps. Mr. Scheinfeld said his biggest concern was pesticide use at camps. He made a motion for the Department to do what it could to have pesticides laws for schools extended to camps. Mr. Felt commented that budget implications should be considered. Mr. Bacon inquired if legislation would include exemptions for bees and other insects/plant hazardous to individual's health. Mr. Scheinfeld stated that existing laws allow for treatment of such hazards. The motion made by Mr. Scheinfeld passed unanimously. Mr. Scheinfeld asked for a timeline on what actions the Department will take. Mr. Cambridge stated that he will discuss the issue with executive staff and see how the Department would move forward, but he could not give a timeline. The Council expressed concern about waiting until next meeting before hearing if the Department will be sponsoring a Departmental Bill or taking other actions. Mr. Cambridge agreed to attempt to report back to the Council by Thanksgiving on any decisions made by the Department in regards to this matter and stated that the Department would not need to wait until the next meeting to take any decided action.

Use of Sunscreen at Camps – Revised State Education Department Policy

Mr. Shay presented information on a revised State Education Department policy regarding sunscreen use for schools, which has also been extended to children's camps. The revised policy no longer requires written orders from a physician for camper to carry and use sunscreen under the following conditions:

  • Sunscreen is used to protect against overexposure to the sun;
  • The sunscreen is approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use; and
  • Written permission from a parent or guardian for campers to carry and use sunscreen is obtained by the camp.

Boating Activities Oversight

Ms. Ewing reported on the Boating Activities Oversight Committee, which was formed at the last Council meeting. The committee determined that a guidance document was needed to assist camp operators to determine staff competence for overseeing non-motorized boating activities, which are not covered by Navigation Laws. The committee is now looking in to language that it can incorporate into a fact sheet. Mr. Scheinfeld asked if the committee was comfortable with the revised regulations, which removed the requirement for a 21-year-old aquatic director to oversee all aquatic activities including boating. The Council reviewed the current requirements for staff to oversee boating and discussed if the minimum age requirement for an 18-years-old was adequate. Mr. Sackett suggested that instead of increasing the minimum age, another level of oversight could be built into guidance. For example having the camp director directly oversee boating activity staff and determine when activities should be cancelled due to weather conditions. The Council decided to see what is proposed by the committee and then further discuss if additional recommendations are needed for the minimum age to oversee boating activities.

Aquatic Director Oversight of Swimming Activities

Mr. Shay provided background information regarding Subpart 7-2 requirements for the aquatic directors to oversee all swimming activities at the camp and directly supervise swimming pools and bathing beaches. Mr. Shay identified implementation challenges for these requirements such as days or times off for the aquatic director and camps with multiple aquatic facilities and asked the Council members if they had any suggestions. The Council discussed the issue including qualification for an alternate for the aquatic director when they are not at the pool/beach supervising the swimming activity. Mr. Coleman suggested that a strong alternate who is specifically identified by the camp is needed. Mr. Dale commented that the camp should address time periods when an alternate is needed in their safety plan and have established procedures on how and who will provide oversight at the aquatic facilities. The plan should be reviewed by the LHD and any LHD concerns must be addressed. Mr. Shay asked if the alternate should have a lifeguard supervision and management course. Mr. Dale stated that requiring the course causes problems with not hiring the best candidate, but the one who can get the certification.

Epi-Pen Requirement for Camps

Mr. Shay reported that based on the Council's previous recommendation, the existing Epi-Pen Fact sheet would be revised to include a recommendation that camps participate in the Epi-Pen program. Mr. Sackett reported that the Department is in discussions with State Education Department regarding a Bill that would require Epi-Pens at schools and children's camps.

Next Meeting/Adjournment

Proposed Topics

Mr. Dale asked for proposed agenda topics for the next Council meeting. Mr. Scheinfeld inquired if there may have been any changes in the Departments position regarding requiring an AED at children's camps. The Department responded that they would revisit the issue and report back to the Council.


The Council adjourned at 12:29 p.m. after tentatively scheduling the next Council meeting for Wednesday, April 24, 2013.