Be Alert and Prepared: Near Misses

A near miss is any event that could have led to somebody getting hurt.

For example, playing soccer in the gym while there are ropes on the floor is a near miss. It’s not hard to imagine somebody tripping on a rope.

Keeping fuel next to an unattended fire is another example of a near miss. This could lead to an explosion.

How many near misses can you find in these scenarios?

What to do

Speak up! Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you’re a Beaver, a Patrol Leader, a Scouter or a Group Commissioner, you can stop an activity to make it safe.

Scouters – if you see something that isn’t safe, make sure you intervene. Scouters are the first line of defense in making sure everyone is safe.


Who to tell

If you see something unsafe, stop the activity and tell someone—like your Patrol Leader or one of your Scouters.

Scouters – You can report near misses to your Group Commissioner. When a major near miss happens, report it to Safe Scouting using an incident report form, or email

Reporting near misses helps activity or meeting organizers ensure they are able to address any potentially unsafe acts and prevent future incidents.



When planning an adventure, check your gear to make sure it’s reliable. Talk about what you’re going to do and how you can keep the activity safe. While doing an activity, keep an eye out to make sure nobody gets hurt. And always review your adventure to talk about any near misses.

Even if no one was hurt, it doesn’t mean an activity was safe.

Check out our “How Safe is Your Meeting Place?” to help identify hazards that can lead to an incident!


Meeting hall:

Youth running in sock feet; ropes on the floor close to the game; blocked exit ; wet floor

Summer scene: Fire too close to tent; no water bucket near the fire; youth whittling next to another youth; food in tent; sunburned youth (no hats or sunscreen), nobody is wearing sunglasses, paddling without PFD’s.

Winter scene: Skating without a helmet; thin ice ; youth exposed to cold (frostnip); tobogganing without a helmet.



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