Child Suffers Life-Altering Burns Due to Negligent Park Safety Protocols


Park Safety Expert WitnessThis case involves a child who was burned at a state park mobile home area when she fell into a campfire that had been improperly put out. The campsite was located on a sandy beach on a lake, and a previous group had put out their campfire by burying the hot coals in the sand. At some point, the Plaintiff fell into the buried coals while playing on the beach, seriously burning his hands and chest on the hot coals. There was no signage indicating that fires were prohibited on the sandy beach, nor were there any warnings against burying hot coals under the sand.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Have you worked at a state or national park as a ranger or site manager?
  • 2. Can you describe appropriate safety procedures for dumping and storage of used coals/ashes/embers?

Expert Witness Response E-049033

I have 27 years experience with the National Park Service, approximately 13 years supervising visitor services and campground operations, and 23 years experience as instructor at National School of RV Park and Campground Management. I have extensive experience supervising park operations and in instruction for the private campground industry. I also have experience as a structural and wildland firefighter/instructor and I am familiar with fire protection and campground operations. I was a commissioned federal law enforcement officer for approximately 26 years. Appropriate safety procedures and standard practices for dumping and storage of used coals/ashes/embers would include closed and secure containers provided for park visitors. Additional guidance is available by citing standard operating procedures of parks, standard operating procedures of franchise operators (e.g., KOA, Leisure Systems), National Fire Protection Association standards, and OSHA regulations.

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