Safety and support

For over 80 years British Exploring has been running challenging and adventurous expeditions to remote, wilderness locations both in the UK and abroad. The safety and support of our explorers, volunteers and participants is fundamental to our work, our staff and our organisation as a whole.

Safety is the cornerstone on which we build and develop an expedition from conception through to departure and return. Our integrated safety management system is designed to empower our explorers and volunteers with knowledge and training.

  • Our policies and operating procedures underpin the way we work and what we expect of our leadership teams. They are adapted for each expedition and govern the way we build, conduct and lead any adventure we put into the field to maintain the highest possible standards at all times.
  • Risk assessments are built for every aspect and activity of an expedition. They are developed throughout planning and preparation to take account of changes, best practice, new risks, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and in-country advice prior to expedition departure.
  • All of our explorers are given an expedition safety summary as soon as they enrol and have access to our risk assessment prior to departure.
  • We aim to provide all the information you need early on to enable you to make clear, informed decision about your own participation. We encourage parents and participants to contact us whenever they have a query or concern. Where safety is concerned there are no silly questions.

  • Experienced leadership teams: we ensure we recruit the best, most competent and experienced leaders for our expeditions. After a rigorous interview, selection and assessment process we build balanced and highly skilled teams.
  • British Exploring adhere to comprehensive Child Protection and Safeguarding procedures; all staff undergo a thorough screening before being appointed including reference checks and completion of an enhanced Criminal Records Check with the Government’s Disclosures and Barring Service.
  • All expeditions are appropriately staffed with qualified medical professionals consistent with the nature of the expedition and all leaders undergo courses in expedition and advanced first aid.
  • Our comprehensive training package is in addition to the qualifications and experience required at selection. It covers technical and specialist skills, safety and crisis management, continuous dynamic risk assessment in a field environment as well as child protection and safeguarding.
  • We operate our expeditions with a leader to explorer ratio of at least 1-5 and 100% of our explorers surveyed described the safety of their expedition as either good or excellent.
  • All of our explorers must attend a comprehensive briefing and training package where they are introduced to their expedition team and instilled with a strong level of risk awareness.
  • Whilst our expeditions are out in the field, our 24/7 Operations room provides continuous support from the UK, working in close partnership with in-country agents and emergency organizations.
  • Safeguarding our teams with this tiered professional back up allows our staff the capability to handle any situation that may arise on expedition.
  • The Society has comprehensive travel, liability and medical insurance for everyone, with access to emergency response and evacuation, emergency medical care and repatriation.
  • British Exploring supply technical and specialist kit on expeditions; all our Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is subject to regular inspections and maintenance checks from qualified assessors in line with UK Legislation.
  • When working with overseas agents British Exploring carry out inspections to ensure our agents meet the same rigorous safety standards expected in the UK.
  • Communications: we equip our teams with a range of communications; from radios and satellite phones to yellow brick tracking devices and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s). Our UK operations room maintain regular scheduled contact with the expedition teams and have access to emergency response at all times.

  • BSi8848: Is the British Standard for organising and managing visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside the UK. The expeditions provided by British Exploring conform to BSi8848; last self-declared in June 2016 and is reviewed annually. In addition British Exploring maintain Corporate Conformity status through independent assessment by the Adventure Activity Associates.
  • Expedition Providers Association (EPA): British Exploring is also a member of EPA and conforms to the association’s standards. We are a holder of the LOTC: Learning Outside the Classroom quality assurance badge, which demonstrates that we deliver the highest standard of expeditions.
  • Adventure Activities Licensing Service (AALS): We are AALS licensed for our activities in the UK and are stringent in guaranteeing our leaders are appropriately skilled and qualified for all activities undertaken abroad.
  •  Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC): British Exploring is a Quality Badge holder for LOtC's national award for provision, learning and safety for all types of learning outside of the classroom.
  • Click here for the BSi8848: A parents' guide to adventurous activities abroad for young people.