Schools are being urged to observe safety precautions when organising excursions, picnics and field work for their students. The Education Department and the Royal Hong Kong Police have designed a simple reporting procedure to help ensure the safety of youngsters who are setting out on an outdoor activity. School heads are advised to send a fax to the Divisional Commander with details of the outing at least 10 days in advance and to notify him of any change of plans. On the day of the outing the Divisional Commander of the respective district should be told whether the outing is to proceed or whether it has been postponed or cancelled. Schools should also report back to the police when the trip is completed. With outings involving a large group of students, schools should seek the advice of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department on whether the destination is suitable for a mass gathering on that particular day. Participants should carry their identity cards, junior identity cards, or another form of identity. A police spokesman said that while letting the police know about such trips was an important safety precaution, the main responsibility for the safety of the students rested with the schools themselves. Schools should provide competent leaders and brief the students well, the spokesman said. In an emergency the leader or any member of the team should immediately call 999. Teachers leading expeditions should carry life-preserving items such as whistles, electric torches, first-aid kits, a mobile telephone and a pager. Principal Education Officer Tam Chun-kit said: 'School heads are urged in their own interests to follow the procedure whenever outdoor-pursuit activities are organised.'