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As a matter of fact, several of the-well, I would have to check to be sure—but many of the camp buildings here in the Palisades Park are protected by high pressure water, and there are hose stations around the camp property that we feel would do a more adequate job of protection. Our concern is getting those children out of the building and then letting professionals do the fire fighting, and we would rather have it done with hoses as opposed to the small extinguisher which has a tendency to be abused by the campers.
Mr. PEYSER. I am not discussing buildings such as we have here, Mr. Gates.
Mr. GATES. No, I am not either.
Mr. PEYSER. I am talking about a camping area where it is an overnight camp and you either have your small wooden frame-type building, or you have even a tent, a big tent area.
Mr. Gates. No, I am talking about the small buildings also, and the way we would handle it—as a matter of fact, we sometimes recommend that the extinguisher be on the porch or on the outside of the building where it is readily seen and readily available as opposed to being within the sleeping quarters itself.
So that if a sampling were done, for instance, on camps in New York with that question worded the way it is, we might get a poor picture, but as far as we were concerned we might have adequate fire protection.
Mr. PEYSER. Well, I won't pursue that, but it is a statistic, I think, of great importance because of the number.
Now, let me ask you a question. Does New York State do anything on the examination of brochures? In other words, within the New York State law are there any laws dealing with brochures on camping that the camp sends out to the parents?
Mr. GATES. Not within the Health Code and not within any other area that I am familiar with except the general provsions of the fraud regulations where a camp would advertise something they did not physically provide, they could be sued for fraud. But we don't have any requirement in the health regulations on that.
Mr. PEYSER. I am thinking now purely from the consumer point of view on this thing. I myself was duped in one instance when I fell prey to a summer camp brochure while I was looking for a camp for my own children.
In other words, they had a swimming area and they had tennis courts, and the pictures of what they looked like in the brochure and what you found on the scene, were vastly different, and I think in a legal sense they certainly could defend the right that, you know, they certainly had four tennis courts, that is what they said they had, and the picture of those tennis courts or the artist's rendering of them certainly bore no resemblance to what you saw when you saw the tennis courts.
I am just wondering if for the protection, and maybe this comes under Attorney General Lefkowitz's area to insure protection in New York State, but I am just wondering if there should be a reason for stating some need for accuracy and realism. So many parents, you know, never get to see the camp and all they see is à brochure, or the ad in the Sunday Times section of the camping
news, and they see this beautiful layout and that is where they send their kids, and I wonder, is there any need for this as you see it, or how would you suggest this be
Mr. GATES. Well, I think it is something that is a responsibility of consumer frauds, and where complaints of this nature are received they are generally forwarded to Attorney General Lefkowitz's office, and the inclusion of something like that in health regulations might be desirable but it would place an additional burden on our staff that I think could possibly be better spent in the real safety items.
I don't mean to say that the public should be duped, but I would prefer to expend my staff time on the other aspects.
Mr. PEYSER. Two other questions quickly, if I may.
you do inspection of qualification, or are there any inspections for qualification of drivers of vehicles within camps?
Mr. Gates. We rely upon the inspection program conducted by the State on all vehicles for transportation equipment, and we do require that any vehicle used for transportation of campers be a licensed vehicle and be a properly licensed and inspected vehicle.
Mr. PEYSER. I am talking about the driver.
Mr. GATES. The drivers of the vehicles, we don't do any investigation of, but we do require that they also be licensed drivers.
In other words, they could not run the vehicle even if they were Ôn camp property, we would not feel that they could run the vehicle as an unlicensed operator.
Mr. PEYSER. But is there anything that your inspector on the site in his pection during the camping season, is this one of the thi gs that is on his check sheet?
Mr. Gates. It is an item that is on the check sheet in general. In other words, are the transportation equipment and practices adequate or not, and he would query the operator as to qualification on counselors and whether or not they were licensed and whether or not they were over 18 years of age, et cetera.
We would incidentally pick up something like that, but I would question that we would be able to pick it up in all cases. It is possible that somebody 16 could have been drunk and run it around the camp and we wouldn't know about it.
Mr. PEYSER. Finally, one question I have. Do you feel, under the New York State regulations now, that you adequately know, for instance, the number of deaths that occurred in New York State in camping, say, last year, based on the system we now have and the number of serious injuries that occurred during the camping season, whether they were legitimate accidents or accidents that might have been prevented ?
Mr. GATES. I feel that the fatality figures are accurate. I am not happy with our reporting system for the accidents. I believe if we had additional personnel—the records are probably available. We do require that a sick book be kept and that regular reports be made in the infirmary sick book, and actual inspection review of that sick book record I think could obtain this. But we do not routinely do it. We don't have
Mr. PEYSER. Why doesn't the regulation call for the necessity of the camp to report deaths, just starting on deaths for a moment? I understand you are saying the regulations for New York State do not require a camp to report to your office a death when it occurs. Is that correct?
Mr. Gates. Yes. The only time this is mandated is if it is a death or an accident which has to do with the waterfront, then it is mandated in a separate section.
Mr. PEYSER. Of your law.
Mr. PEYSER. But if it occurs, for instance, by someone being run over in a camp it would not come into your area?
Mr. GATES. Correct.
Mr. PEYSER. If it occurred because of overexertion and heart failure and a death occurred it would not come under your area?
Mr. GATES. No. This is something that we are in the final process of correcting. The code regulation has been drawn and probably will be adopted within the next 2 or 3 months by the Public Health Council. It is one item, and in our attempt to cover everything we missed it.
Mr. PEYSER. I am glad to hear that because I think it should be. What you are saying is four deaths are the deaths that occurred in New York State last year. I support your suggestion that deaths must be reported, and I also believe, and I would accept the 48-hour suggestion that you make, that a 48-hour stay in a hospital must be reported to your office regardless of what other agencies it may have to go through. If we don't get this kind of reporting we are not going to really know a heck of a lot more than we know right now about some of these situations. We have found instances where camps go to great lengths, and successfully, to keep this information out of the press, and the press not sitting in every hospital and every police station, particularly in the little communities that are involved where these accidents happen.
So a great deal of these, we feel, go totally unnoticed, and I think it would be a very necessary requirement that should be incorporated, and I only say this because as a New York State resident I am very interested in this.
Mr. Gates. There is one thing I had better add here to qualify my statement.
The deaths that I mentioned are upstate New York. During 1973 we did not have a direct responsibility for New York City camp operations. We have corrected this in the new legislation, and there were some incidents that did occur in New York City, particularly on some travel camps where children were killed on the subways, and things of this nature, that would not be reflected in our statistics. I am sorry I neglected that previously.
Mr. PEYSER. Is New York City the only area that was excluded ? What about, say, Westchester County?
Mr. GATES. No. Westchester County was covered. Westchester County was handled by the county health department, and to my knowledge there was no death in Westchester County. Now, if one did occur I would have to—well, you would prove me wrong if one did occur.
Mr. PEYSER. I think, Mr. Chairman, one of the points that Mr. Gates just made, which I think is of interest to us and the record
will reflect, is in his report on the deaths, and so forth, that he spoke of, it did not include New York City where there were other deaths because New York City evidently was not included under this regulation. Although it is now going to be included. Is that correct?
Mr. GATES. Yes.
Mr. PEYSER. I appreciate that and it is the key point to also have brought out, and I thank you very much for your testimony.
Mr. DANIELS. On behalf of the committee I again want to express my thanks. Your testimony was indeed very enlightening and informative.
Mr. GATES. I will see that these two items are sent to you.
Mr. DANIELS. The Chair will declare a 5-minute recess. However,
Our next witness is Dr. Glenn Haughie, Monroe County Health Department.
STATEMENT OF DR. GLENN HAUGHIE, MONROE COUNTY HEALTH
Dr. HAUGHIE. Mr. Chairman and members of the Select Committee on Labor. My name is Glenn Haughie, pronounced Hoy. I live at 32 Mill Valley Road, Pittsford, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. I am grateful to the committee for the opportunity to comment on H.R. 1486, a bill to provide for the development and implementation of programs for youth camp safety.
My concern for the safe operation of youth camps is both personal and professional. On July 6, 1973, my son, Patrick William Haughie, fell to his death from a cliff at Roaring Brook Falls, Essex County, N.Y. He was 8 years old. Five days prior to his death, he left our home with many of his neighborhood friends to attend the camp, owned and operated by a neighbor and friend of our family. At the time of his death, he and seven other boys, all 8 or 9 years of age, and three counselors were on an overnight hiking expedition out of the main camp facility.
The boys camped at a site frequently used by campers, but not officially maintained by the State of New York. The campsite is located at the top of Roaring Brook Falls. His tent was pitched at a point within 75 feet from the top of the falls. The path between the tent site and the top of the falls is easily accessible without major obstruction. Because no one observed his fall, it is presumed that he wandered in his sleep to his death.
This is the same campsite where a teenage boy fell to his death in 1971. A New York State forest ranger advised the leaders of my son's group about this death and the hazardous location of tha campsite. He lacked the authority to move them, however.
My professional concern relates to my work as a public health physician. I presently serve as director of the Department of Health, County of Monroe, N.Y. To my knowledge there is only a limited amount of information concerning the frequency of illness and injury in youth camps, specifically with regard to types of illnesses and injuries, severity, circumstances of occurrence, et cetera.
I have serious reservations that the Youth Camp Study conducted by the Center for Disease Control during 1973 will accurately reflect the occurrence of illness and injury in camps. My reservations are largely based on the voluntary nature of particpation of camp operators in this study.
Lacking specific information about camp hazards, however, should not deter government from enforcing recommendations of national camping organizations which in their judgment would promote camp safety.Why should government assume this role?
In the first place, not all camps belong to national camping organizations. Government should define certain criteria for safe camp operation to assure uniform application to all camps. Secondly, society has asked government to concern itself with the safe operation of schools and day care centers.
Youth camps similarly serve in parental capacity while our children are in their facilities. Perhaps the analogy is imperfect in that government does not require us to send our children to youth camps; nevertheless, each year millions of children go to camp, and many thousands suffer injury and illness.
As parents, we are frequently unable to inspect the camp facilities and operations, especially the remote areas visited by our children on canoe trips and overnight hikes. Moreover we recognize that our children frequently lack good judgment concerning their own safety. We therefore place our children's safety in the trust of camp operators and staff.
Mr. Mitch Kurman has documented for this committee on previous occasions camp situation which if known to parents might alter their decision to send their children to certain camps.
H.R. 1486 is a good proposal for promoting camp sa fety. I urge Congress to approve this bill. I urge the Federal Government to develop camp safety standards in concert with State officials and representatives of interested public and private organizations.
I urge the Federal Government to delegate the responsibility of enforcement to State and local governments.
And finally, I urge the Federal Government to provide fiscal support to State and local governments to assure the availability of adequate numbers of properly trained personnel for enforcement.
Mr. Chairman, again I thank you for the opportunity to address this committee, and I will be glad to respond to any questions.
Mr. DANIELS. Dr. Haughie, I want to thank you for your testimony. I regret the unfortunate incident and experience that you had with regard to your own son's accident at camp which resulted in his death and express my deepest sympathy to you.
Dr. HaughIE. Thank you.
Mr. DANIELS. I am pleased, however, that you came here to relate these facts. I wholeheartedly agree with what you state in your state