SCA assigns the highest priority to the well-being of our members, and we all share the philosophy that there is no compromise when it comes to safety. While SCA is proud of our unparalleled record of safety, we are also mindful that maintaining this record requires constant care, diligence and attention.
Every visitor to a national park, forest or other natural preserved area, and certainly every visitor who ventures into the backcountry, incurs certain risks. The participants in SCA's programs are no exception. Whether posed by the elements, the terrain, the wildlife or the work, these risks are inherent to our programs and to the settings in which they are conducted. We cannot eliminate these risks or guarantee the safety of SCA participants. While you are serving your internship, you need to be cognizant of your own safety and the risks associated with some activities in which you may participate. We encourage heightened awareness of personal safety, particularly now that you will be living and serving in a new and unfamiliar environment.
In recent years, among the most common accidents befalling participants in SCA programs have been vehicle-related injuries. It is therefore critical that you read and heed the advice below even though it may seem commonplace.
Whether driver or passenger, be sure to observe all the normal safety precautions of seatbelts, speed limits, and vehicle and weather conditions. These can become critical under work and travel conditions you may encounter during your assignment.
If you are working with any of the federal agencies, you may need an Operator’s Permit before you can drive any government vehicle. Before driving any government vehicle, you must learn all the rules, regulations and operator maintenance procedures applicable to that vehicle and in your area. Whether you are driver or passenger, all the above continue to apply at any time you are in a government vehicle.
For those involved in operations off paved roads, special precautions are required. Travel on dirt, gravel, narrow, muddy, steep or backcountry roads, or on routes off any road at all, requires special attention, judgment, and occasionally training. Keep in mind that such travel may involve impaired sight distance over hills and at corners, loose gravel or sand, stream crossings, steep hills, soft shoulders and other factors affecting the control and handling of four-wheel drive vehicles.
If at any time you are driving a vehicle transporting other people, be sure you have learned and observe all required safety rules and practices. This applies especially to those circumstances where people are transported in open vehicles or with items of equipment.
SCA interns have also had accidents and close calls operating their own and others’ vehicles during their off-duty time. Please remember that the attention to generally-accepted safety procedures is no less crucial when you are tired after a day or week’s work than it is while on duty.
Finally, whenever you leave a vehicle, please be sure it is secured, in gear and the parking brakes are set.
Living and working in sometimes remote outdoor locations can expose you to increased environmental hazards. These hazards strike the uninformed more than the prepared, so being knowledgeable of accepted safety precautions will minimize the risks you may incur. In addition, be sure to learn about other hazards that may be specific to the area in which you are working (e.g. bears or other wildlife, unusual weather conditions). Your Supervisor should provide you with such information and any necessary training. If you are uncertain, ask. Below is information on just a few of the hazards you may encounter and the information provided is not intended to be inclusive.
To protect yourself outside, go to a low-lying, open place away from trees, poles, or metal objects. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding. Be a very small target! Squat low to the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible. Do not lie flat on the ground—this will make you a larger target!
Be especially watchful for wildlife at dawn, dusk, and in the first few hours after darkness falls. Many species of wildlife are most active at these times, so drive slowly and be alert.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by certain ticks, and if untreated, can be quite dangerous. If your internship is in a part of the country with a high incidence of Lyme disease (to find out, check the Centers for Disease Control  web site, then you should take the extra precautions advised by the CDC.
SCA’s number one priority is the safety and well-being of our members. While SCA maintains a remarkable safety record, we do not assume it can remain so without exceptional diligence and a high level of commitment from you as the intern’s supervisor.
SCA is proud of our safety record and risk management program. Utilizing 49 years of experience, SCA has developed standards and guidelines that promote a strong safety culture. SCA continually evaluates safety through hazard assessments, incident and “near-miss” analysis and integrates the lessons learned into our protocols, procedures and training. In addition to being time and event-tested, SCA's risk management protocols and procedures are thoroughly reviewed (and revised, if necessary) annually by SCA’s Risk Management Team.
SCA’s 24 hour contact number is 800-967-6449. This line has been set up to support our members, staff, and agency partners. During business hours, this line rings directly in to SCA Headquarters at Charlestown, NH. Outside of regular business hours, including weekends and holidays, this number will connect you with an on-call staff member. This staff member will provide you support and/or connect you with the appropriate SCA staff member. This line should be used for urgent communications and not for normal business use. During normal business hours please call 603-543-1700 and alert the person answering the phone to the nature of your call.
In the event of an injury, accident, illness or other serious incident affecting the health or well-being of a Conservation Intern, please notify SCA as soon as possible by calling our national headquarters at 603-543-1700 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST. Alert the person answering the phone to the nature of your call.
If your emergency takes place outside regular business hours, or if you are unable to reach SCA at the main telephone number, please use our 24-hour emergency contact line: 800-967-6449. Use this number as a last resort, as on-call responsibilities are shared by program staff who may or may not work specifically for Conservation Internships. Do not use this number for procedural or business matters that are best handled during regular working hours.
Seek needed medical attention at once. If an accident or injury occurs off-duty you will need to provide the hospital with your primary health insurance information. If you do not have primary health insurance, the visit will be covered under SCA's 24-hour accident insurance with AIG. You will need to submit a claim form if using this accident insurance. SCA will send this form to your sit coordinator/supervisor upon notification of your injury. You must return it to SCA, along with any bills, for authorization.
If the injury or accident was on the job it will be covered by Worker's Compensation. You will need to contact your program representative immediately to let them know about the situation.