On the morning of June 11, heavy localised rain hit a national forest in Arkansas in the US, causing flash flooding which killed at least 20 campers. This incident illustrates the high level of inherent risk caused by acts of nature, that owners and operators of campgrounds, parkland and outdoor recreational areas must manage the potential impacts of to meet their duty of care to park users. In addition to flooding, risks such as injuries from falling trees, falling from cliffs, trip and falls from poor maintenance on walking trails, bushfires, wildlife and missing persons are all risks that should be considered.
As with all public space owners and managers, a duty of care exists to protect and / or alert those who may be impacted by any reasonably foreseeable risks - in this case these are natural hazards.
A thorough risk program should identify those hazards and develop a management plan for those inherent risks that are deemed as unacceptable or undesirable. The risk management plan should include an Emergency Management Plan to be implemented in the event of unforseen risks occurring that require a coordinated and urgent response to save lives.