accessibility & help

Holiday hazards

These holiday hazard challenges offer a number of stimulating ways to explore students' knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits.

The focus is on helping young people prepare for and react to possible adverse events on holiday.

Learning objectives

By the end of this activity students will be able to:

  • Describe what people can do to keep themselves, others and their possessions safe at festivals, in nightclubs, on the beach and in other holiday situations in the UK and overseas.
  • Evaluate and score the merits of various risk assessment and management responses suggested by peers. 

The ideas here can be used in any way that suits the group and the time available. For an end-of-term competition, try the following arrangement:

Divide the group into three. Two of the groups are players, competing against each other. The third are judges - whose job is to award points. They may be given copies of the judges’ notes, or these can be held by the teacher and used as suggested below.

Show the photograph and read out the scene and the challenge. Invite the teams to work together to come up with their best responses. They may tackle the whole of the challenge, or just part of it, whichever suits.  Set a time limit.

When the time limit is up, each team reports in turn to the judges. The judges then spend time in deliberation, before allocating points for soundness, creativity and resourcefulness.

Judges' notes

These challenges are designed to encourage an active learning process. Resilience education tries to instill habits that lead to a successful outcome in any situation – not a solution to a particular problem which in reality is unlikely to occur in exactly that form.

Accordingly, the judges' notes are not a "marking scheme". In these scenarios, as in life, there are not always right answers.  

Use the notes to help during discussion and de-briefing exercises. They can also be used to give prompts, offering focus or inspiration if teams seem stuck. Try this checklist of resilient behaviours and use them to evaluate students’ responses:

  • Not necessarily doing the first thing that comes into your head

  • Not freezing or panicking

  • Thinking about what items you have to hand and those that are nearby which could be used to help yourself and others

  • Being creative with what you have

  • Asking someone who has been hurt for their suggestions on what you can do to help

  • Using past experience of similar situations to guide your actions

  • Keeping calm and reassuring others 

Depending on the group and time available, you may choose to use the activities in different ways. For more detailed exploration of options, you could allow a longer time limit, even overnight, to allow groups or pairs to research the best answers.

Challenge 1: Festivals

Crowd scene from Arctic Monkeys 2013 performance at Glastonbury© Info

Show the photograph. It was taken at Glastonbury festival last year. Note the member of the safety team in the foreground.

The scene

It's a major summer festival. Tens of thousands of people are gathering to listen to music and enjoy the atmosphere.

Your challenge

You are at the front of a crowd when you notice someone who is looking unwell – they look flushed and a bit shaky on their feet. 

How would you help them?


Judges' notes

Did groups think about what could be causing the person to feel unwell? It could be any number of things, for example, dehydration, heat exhaustion, substance abuse, or an underlying medical condition. 

Event organisers suggest bringing as little as you can to festivals. But they do advise to bring a water bottle, tent, toilet roll, warm jumper, sunscreen, waterproofs, and information about any medical conditions, torch and ID. 

Did teams think about how everyday items such as those listed above could be used to help themselves and others in an emergency?

There are many hazards organisers of festivals have to consider. These include crowd movements, crushing between people or barriers, trampling underfoot, surging or swaying, and aggressive or dangerous behaviour. 

At big events there will be security and event first aiders. Identifying where these can be found before you need them will make you more able to respond quickly in an emergency situation. 

Challenge 2: Jelly fish

Barrel jellyfish© Info

Show the photograph. Say that news reports indicate record numbers of giant barrel jellyfish are being washed towards UK beaches. 

The scene

You're on holiday at the coast in the South West of the UK. Some people where you are staying say that there have been large jellyfish on the local beach recently.

The jellyfish can be up to a metre across. 

Your challenge 

Say what you would take with you to the beach and how you would reduce the risks of being stung by a jellyfish. 

Describe what you would do if someone was stung by a jellyfish. 

Judges' notes 

Be alert and keep out of the water if jellyfish have been spotted there. Don't touch any that are washed up on the beach - they can still sting. 

Consider covering up if you’re going into the water - with a wetsuit or just rubber water socks. 

Anyone who is stung needs to get out of the water to avoid getting stung again. Slowly pouring seawater over the sting will help ease the pain.

Don’t wee on the sting. It won’t make things any better.

Challenge 3: Pickpockets

 French police patrol in the Louvre museum in Paris 11 April 2013 a day after a one-day closure of the Louvre as guards protested that pickpockets were rampant at the world's most visited museum© Info

Show the photograph. Say that last year the Louvre museum in the French capital Paris closed for a day as workers protested against the numbers of pickpockets operating in the building.

The scene

You're looking round a museum in the French capital, Paris. As you stand in front of a painting, you find yourself being jostled, people getting closer to you than they need. 

You realise that someone has their hand near your shoulder bag, trying to undo the fastener.

Your challenge

Say what you would do to protect yourself from pickpockets. Where and how would you store your cash, cards and phone? 

If your purse or wallet was stolen whilst you were abroad, what would you do next?

Judges' notes 

Be alert and wary in crowds, especially in public buildings where your guard might be down, or on train platforms. Keep bags zipped closed, and carry them in front of you, rather than on your back. 

Likewise, don't keep phones or wallets in your back pocket - use a front pocket instead.  

Be aware of distraction techniques, where someone asks for help or starts cleaning something they spilled on your clothes. 

Don't display valuable goods such as phones or cameras.  Know where to report losses of phones and bank cards. Keep a copy of the details and act fast. 

Report thefts to the police and contact the nearest embassy or consulate if you have lost your passport and need emergency travel documents.

Challenge 4: Tsunami alert

People move an ice-cream cart from the Marina beach after a tsunami alert was issued in the southern Indian city of Chennai 11 April 2012 following an earthquake which struck off Indonesia© Info

Show the photograph. Say that it shows ice-cream vendors on the Marina beach in Chennai, India. They're evacuating themselves and their cart after a tsunami alert.

The scene

You are holidaying abroad and have taken a day trip out to a small island. Whilst there, you hear of a tsunami alert in the region. 

Your challenge

What do you do? How do you respond to the tsunami warning? 

Judges' notes

If there is a tsunami warning you should move immediately to higher ground. 

What if there isn’t any high ground on the island that you can move to? It's often a good idea to find out what local people are planning to do, and to follow their lead. 

Assess how far you are from the mainland. Do you think you could be safer there? 

Try to get in touch with whoever it was that put out the Tsunami warning (local authorities, local Red Cross branches for example) and ask them for advice. 

This should also be taken alongside embassy advice where possible as well, as this may be different from the advice for local people. 

Challenge 5: Tombstoning

A youth jumps from a sea wall in a practice known as tombstoning© Info

Show the photograph.  

The scene

It is a hot day in the summer by the coast. You are out with friends. Someone suggests cooling off, by jumping into the sea from the harbour wall.

Your challenge

It is obvious to you that some of the group don't understand the dangers involved in the activity. What do you do or say? 

Judges' notes

You could try to distract them from the idea by suggesting a safer activity or way of cooling off. Or you could try to describe the risks involved in tombstoning. 

What alternatives could you suggest? Swimming on a beach is also a good way to cool off, with a far lower risk of serious injury or death.

What risks are there? You could point out that the water may be shallower than it seems. Its depth can vary with the tide, and there may be submerged objects like rocks which are not visible but can cause very serious injury if you jump onto them. 

Conditions change all the time, so just because people have jumped from that spot and been OK before, doesn’t mean it is safe to do. 

The shock of cold water may make it difficult to swim, even for a strong swimmer. Strong currents can rapidly sweep people away.

Did groups think about the impact on other people? For example, younger children may be watching and try to copy what you're doing. 

Challenge 6: Nightclub safety

People inspect the Boate Kiss nightclub in the southern city of Santa Maria A fire at the nightclub killed at least 231 people in Santa Maria early on Sunday when a band's pyrotechnics show set the building ablaze and fleeing partygoers stampeded toward blocked and overcrowded exits in the ensuing panic officials said January 30 2013© Info

Show the photograph. Say that it shows the scene of a devastating fire which killed more than two hundred people in a nightclub in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria in January last year.

The scene

You're on holiday and have gone to a popular nightclub. It's small and gets very busy. Your friend is nervous, not sure whether it's safe to stay. 

Your challenge

Make a quick assessment of the safety of the nightclub. Are there any obvious fire risks? Do the nightclub owners seem to be following basic fire safety laws? 

List the signs you could look out for that would help in making a decision. 

Judges' notes 

Are staircases and corridors kept clear? Are emergency exit routes well marked? 

Do the fire exit doors look as though they can be easily opened from inside - or are they blocked or locked from the outside? 

Check also for fire extinguishers, and for the presence of staff who would know what to do in the event of a fire. 

Is there any overflowing rubbish that could catch fire, or likelihood of fireworks or firecrackers that could ignite a fire?


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