Incident Reporting Helps

SUMMARY: The 4-1-1 on Incident Reporting Policies

Timely and complete incident reporting provides the BSA with an opportunity for analysis of incidents that occur and promotes continuous improvement of our programs. In our experience, the sooner a clear, concise, and complete incident report is made, the sooner that an appropriate response to the incident can occur.


What is an incident? There are three types of reportable incidents:

  • Near Miss—A near miss does not result in injury, illness, or damage, by definition, but it had the potential to do so.
  • General Liability—Events or allegations of injury, illness, or property damage, including employment, director, and officer issues.
  • Youth Protection/Membership Infraction—Allegations of abuse, violations of BSA guidelines or policies, or inappropriate behavior by a Scout/Scout leader/parent/other.

Why report an incident? The information reported from incidents helps identify areas for improvement so we can help prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents. The BSA cannot address a concern if we do not know about it. Reporting incidents promptly is also critical so the BSA can respond in a timely manner and manage claims properly.

When do I report an incident? Report as soon as possible if an injury or illness cannot be treated by Scout-rendered first aid, a medical professional such as a doctor or nurse was needed, or an ambulance was called.

How do I report an incident? You can report it to your local council, which can then enter it for you, or you can enter the incident yourself at the BSA’s Incident Reporting webpage (see “All Things Incident Reporting” in the “Resources” section, below). The webpage has tools to help you collect facts.

Reporting tips: It is important that incident reports are filled out as completely as possible. This will help bring clarity to the situation and avoid unnecessary calls or emails for additional information. Photographs of the site, facilities, vehicles, or equipment can add value to the report. Remember to include only pertinent facts about the incident. Do not assign blame or include personal opinions. Stick to the facts.