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Be Prepared for Severe Weather

Pop quiz, folks: Name the Scout Motto.

The answer, of course, is: “Be Prepared.”

Being prepared at #2017Jambo doesn’t mean just packing well and charging your phone. It also means having a plan for everything, from your route to the stadium shows to how to contact your contingent if anything goes wrong. Having a plan for inclement weather is no different. Follow these five tips on how to get ready and to stay safe if severe weather hits The Summit during the Jamboree.

  1. Learn – Before the jamboree, take the BSA’s weather hazards course in the Training Center section of Refresh yourself on first aid and CPR training, or take it for the first time.
  2. Read – At The Summit, you will receive a Water Intake card that shows what hydration level is appropriate for the day’s heat level and a Lightning Guide card for easy steps to react to lightning. Read them! In addition, check weather forecasts each morning or before bed to “prepare” your day-to-day activity plans. You may have to adapt if the outlook isn’t as perfect as you’d hoped.
  3. Plan – Once you decide where you’re headed for the day, use the Jamboree App and/or physical maps to determine where you can find shelter if necessary. The Scott Visitor Center, the Sustainable Treehouse, the Pigott Administration Building, the Joe Crafton Sportsmen’s Complex, the Harvey Family Mountain Bike Shop, the Fenneman Lodge and Great Hall, the Arnold Logistic Center, and the J.W. and Hazel Ruby West Virginia Welcome Center are all great buildings to use as shelter. If necessary, wood-covered pavilions and base camp shower houses can also provide limited shelter.
  4. Watch and listen – Throughout the jamboree, the Summit has a loud public address (PA) speaker system, so you’ll hear instructions no matter where you are. You can also receive notifications of severe weather situations by text, so keep your phone charged and available. Pay attention to staff members at program areas, who may have specific instructions. Jamboree social media may also publish relevant instructions.
  5. Act – If you find out about an impending weather situation, drop what you’re doing and get to the nearest shelter. The type of weather situation should affect what you do. For example, if lightning strikes, stay away from water or wet objects, metal objects, and tall trees; spread out in groups, find a low-lying area, and sit or crouch if shelter isn’t available. Or for hail or wind storms, stay alert to falling branches, and protect your head. In all cases, make sure you stay sheltered until you receive an all-clear over PA, in a text message, or from a staff member.

In general, being prepared means being smart. No matter what incredible activity you might be enjoying when severe weather hits, your safety comes first. The Jamboree will still be there when the weather gets better. Follow these tips, combined with common sense and your Scouting knowledge, and you’ll be fine during hail, heat, rain, lightning, or whatever happens to come to West Virginia this July.

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