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We Care! UNITY Conference Safety and Crisis Protocols

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UNITY participants’ and youth’s safety and well-being are our utmost priority. As we prepare for this year’s National UNITY Conference, please know we will work closely with all advisors and chaperones to promote a safe experience. In fact, during the planning of UNITY events, we work closely with each property’s security team to outline safety tips and protocols. Hotel security officers are available onsite 24 hours each day. They may be reached immediately by calling #65 from a hotel phone. We remain dedicated to maintaining a secure environment for all participants and will continue to uphold our commitment to their welfare.

Click here for UNITY Hotel Group Safety Tips & Information

To ensure clarity and ease of response, it is important that advisors and chaperones have well-thought-out procedures in place to handle potential crises. The tip sheet provides suggested guidelines.

On-Site Support

For the continued safety and well-being of attendees, UNITY requires all trainers, contractors, and staff to submit background checks. Attendees’ well-being is our top priority when attending the nation’s largest gathering of Native youth.


UNITY Spirit Room

This year, an expert team of Cultural Wellness and Prevention trainers will team up to host UNITY’s Spirit Room. The Spirit Room (Convention Office 1, lower level) will be available throughout the conference, designed to provide a supervised safe space for Native youth and Advisors to gather, pray, meditate, or share cultural teachings. (Native youth will need to be accompanied by an Advisor) This space can also serve as a quiet place for anyone who may experience sensory overload or need time for reflection. The Wellness team is led by UNITY Alumni Hunter Genia, Lovina Louie, and Sheldon Smith. Interventions, treatment, crisis assessment, and counseling are not available on-site. The Spirit Room is designed to provide calm, focus, prayer, and comfort to people while attending the Conference. 


Mental Health Support

The FCC has designated 988 as a nationwide 3-digit number for mental health crisis and suicide prevention services, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Callers will be connected to a specialist who will listen to their concerns and connect them to relevant resources. The helpline will be promoted throughout the conference.


Emergency Mental Health Care
Call 988
Or text “HelpLine” to 62640


Buddy System

Where’s your buddy? Every year, UNITY encourages youth participants to keep an eye on each other. A buddy system is a common way to reduce risk in any environment. Of course, it’s just one way to promote safety. We encourage youth to not only check in with each other but especially with their advisors. Daily huddles with youth and advisors is encouraged. UNITY peer groups conduct daily debriefs as a way to address any concerns. A group chat, with everyone’s cell phone numbers, is also a good way to keep track of each other. 

Community Safety Listening Sessions hosted by OJJDP

On Monday, July 3, 2023, the Department of Justice/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will host listening sessions at the National UNITY with youth and adults from across the country to discuss safety issues in Indian country. The listening sessions will bring together a select group of youth, ages 14 to 24, and adults with a diverse range of experiences to discuss the challenges they have had with safety in their communities and share their ideas for how federal programs could better empower them and their families.

The OJJDP Listening Sessions will be held Monday, July 3, at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. One session is for youth, and the second session is for adults. Attendance is limited to 30 for each session. Sign up now!

4th of July Safety in Washington DC

The National Park Service asks visitors to adhere to the following guidelines to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day. Please bring plenty of water for hydration, dress in weather-appropriate attire, and use sunscreen.

The NPS is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, D.C. Fire & Emergency Medical Services, and Arlington County Fire Department, as well as over 100 emergency medical service volunteers to provide medical services on the National Mall and along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Medical Aid Stations will be clearly identified by red banners with a blue star of life on them.

Precautions against the heat

Summer temperatures in the nation’s capital can climb well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the humidity, it can feel close to or more than 100 degrees. Sunburn, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke can result from excessive heat exposure. Senior citizens and those suffering from chronic medical conditions may be more susceptible.

Take the following precautions to protect yourself against the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Bring a water bottle and drink water throughout the day even when you are not thirsty
  • Minimize consumption of beverages containing caffeine or alcohol
  • Eat a healthy breakfast and normal meals throughout the day
  • Take frequent shade breaks to cool off
  • Periodically get out of the heat and into air conditioning, especially between the hours of 10 am to 3 pm
  • Avoid overexertion
  • Reduce exertion during the hottest hours
  • Loosen clothing and cool off outside before entering an air-conditioned space
  • Bring extra medication.

If you are taking any prescribed medication for illness or medical conditions, be sure to bring extra doses just in case and have the medication information easily available in case medical providers need to know when treating an emergency.

If you or someone you know exhibits the following signs and symptoms, go to a Medical Aid Station or summon help as soon as possible.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea, headache, dizziness
  • Weakness, exhaustion
  • Cool, pale, flushed or ashen skin
  • Increased body temperature

The symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Red, hot skin
  • Change in level of consciousness (may become unresponsive)
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Body temperature of 104 degrees F or above

Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition. Cool victims rapidly with splashed water and fanning. Summon help immediately.


Please follow these precautions if you are located near the launch site (West Potomac Park) during the fireworks display:

  • Consider wearing eye protection and hearing protection
  • Do not attempt to enter the fenced safety zones around the launch site
  • Following the fireworks, do not walk along Independence Avenue, SW, between Daniel Chester French Drive, SW, and 17th Street, SW, until safety teams clear the area of potentially harmful fireworks debris

Viewing Fireworks from the National Mall

  • Plan to arrive early, and to protect yourself from heat-related illness. See Directions and Plan Your Visit.
  • Viewing areas on the National Mall near the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool will be accessible only through secure access points.
  • Consider wearing hearing protection. These fireworks are BIG and LOUD.
  • Consider wearing eye protection to protect yourself from incidental falling debris (ash).
  • Consider not bringing pets (some get very scared of the loud booms).
  • Immediately following the fireworks, areas along Independence Avenue between the Lincoln Memorial and World War II Memorial will be closed for safety checks related to the fireworks launch site. The road and sidewalks will re-open after cleanup crews have completed their inspection and removed any hazardous materials.
Fireworks may be canceled due to inclement weather

The fireworks display may be delayed or canceled if there is inclement weather, such as driving rain, high winds, lightning and/or low ceiling cloud cover in the area. Sign up for automated alerts by texting JULY4DC to 888777.

Other Viewing Areas