Must Reports

This section highlights only the updated sections of the Ranger Manual

Must-Reports — Situations that Must Be Called in Immediately

Black Rock Rangers are entrusted with considerable flexibility in how they handle the situations they encounter in Black Rock City. Rangers are trained to rely on their own judgment and abilities, and to escalate matters (generally to Khaki who is part of the Shift Command Team) for assistance when appropriate. There are, however, situations in which the Ranger Department requires that Rangers report what they observe to the Shift Command Team immediately.

The requirement to report is in place to ensure that the Burning Man organization is aware of events that are critical to maintaining agreements we have in place with other departments and agencies, our internal reporting metrics, or legally required or advisable record keeping and reporting.

It is important to note that this policy only requires that a Ranger escalate required information to the Shift Command Team. The Shift Leads will then follow up with appropriate actions, which may be as simple as noting the event in the shift log, or may include further escalation. It is not the individual Dirt Ranger’s responsibility to contact LE or medical.


  • Any Non-consensual violence
    • Any situation that is likely to put a participant in non-consensual grave danger
    • Any situation that is likely to put a Ranger in harm’s way
    • Child or elder abuse
    • Domestic violence
    • Sexual violence
  • Death
  • Lost or found child
  • Medical emergencies
  • Psychiatric emergencies

Non-consensual violence is a comprehensive heading for the most difficult situations a Ranger may encounter. The first two bullet points under non-consensual violence are deliberately broad, and encompass many of the serious incidents one may encounter in Black Rock City. Any witnessed act or report of non-consensual violence (dosing, physical altercations, etc.) are considered to fit within one of these categories, and therefore constitute a Must-Report requiring you to report the incident to Khaki immediately. The protocol for reporting all incidents of non-consensual violence is similar and varies only with the specifics of the incident. 

The remaining three non-consensual violence classifications are called out because the Ranger Department has specific protocols to be followed, when they arise. 

The Must-Report policy requires a Ranger to escalate the required information to the Shift Command Team. The Ranger Shift Command Team will determine the appropriate next steps.

  • As Rangers, our role is not to investigate or pass judgment on participants’ interactions. 
  • Our goals are to support participants, and to decrease the risk of non-consensual interactions through education and by facilitating clear communication. 
  • If we learn that a nonconsensual interaction has occurred, we must ensure Khaki has adequate information so that the appropriate resources are activated to address the situation, and support participants.
  • Ensure the situation gets recorded in the Incident Management System (IMS).

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What happens if you don’t report a must-­report situation?

  • Must-report situations are important and the possible ramifications of a failure to report are significant, failure to report one of these situations can result in you being dismissed from the Ranger Department. This is no joke. They’re called “must-reports” for a reason.
  • If you realize after a shift that you probably should’ve called something in but you didn’t, the best course of action is to report it (even way after the fact) to someone in shift command.
  • When in doubt, call it in. You’re not going to get in trouble for reporting something that turns out to not be a must-report. If you’re in any doubt, then it’s almost certainly at least a should-probably-report.

How to Report
All reports begin by calling Khaki on the radio.

In the case of a medical emergency, request medical response and give a quick description of the nature and severity of the injury to Khaki. If you believe someone to be dead, call it in as a medical for an “unconscious and not breathing” person and request an immediate face-to-face with Khaki.

In the case of a lost or found child, report the details per the lost child protocol. In the case of a sexual or domestic violence incident, follow the appropriate protocol.

In all other cases, use plain English to clearly explain what the situation is, and, if you know them, what resources you think you need. Khaki may send other resources as well, and may roll to your location for a face-to-face.

If you are not sure whether something falls into the above categories, go ahead and report what you see. Let your Shift Leads figure out whether any follow up action is required.

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Domestic Violence

You may encounter situations in which:

  • A participant tells you that they are the victim of on-playa domestic violence
  • A participant tells you that someone else is the victim of on-playa domestic violence
  • You have reason to suspect that someone is the victim of on-playa domestic violence

Any of these are must-report situations.

The two defining characteristics of domestic violence are:

  • Violence or force has been used, and
  • A domestic relationship exists, or has existed in the past, between the parties

The definition of domestic relationship is very broad. Two people are in a domestic relationship if they:

  • Are or were ever married, living together, sleeping together, or even dating, or
  • If they are family, or
  • Are or have ever been roommates.

You will likely need to gently ask some questions to determine the above..

If you suspect a domestic violence situation but are not able to make a positive determination, call Khaki and say that in plain English. Likely this means a Shift Lead or Troubleshooter will come to you to help you make a determination.

Once you have satisfied yourself that you are dealing with a domestic violence situation, then, after making sure that the scene and the victim are safe, you must follow these steps:

  1. Ask if anyone needs medical attention.
  2. Call Khaki and ask for a Domestic Violence or DV response at your location: “Khaki, I need domestic violence response at <location>”. If you believe that participants on scene might be freaked out by hearing you say “domestic violence,” you can call it in as a “Delta Victor” or “DV”. You must report a DV to Khaki whether or not the participant wants you to call it in.
  3. Request medical if needed.
  4. Ask if the victim is comfortable telling you about their assailant. If they are, begin gathering any information regarding the alleged perpetrator that the victim may have, such as their name (default and/or Playa), description (physical and clothing), current location, and camp location.
  5. Do not ask the victim to tell their story, as that can be traumatizing. If the victim *wants* to tell their story, listen and take notes.
    If you are at the scene where the incident occurred, do not touch or disturb the scene.
  6. Khaki will activate the domestic violence protocol, which will result in a member of Shift Command, SAT (Survivor Advocacy Team), Law Enforcement, and medical (if requested) rolling to our location.
  7. Make sure the scene is safe and stay with the victim until all resources arrive and you are properly relieved. You may be asked to stay on scene to continue to provide support. Consider requesting Green Dot support for the friends or campmates of the victim.

Remember that ANY physical assault is a must-report situation, whether or not a domestic relationship exists.

Sexual Violence

For reporting purposes, Sexual Violence is any unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual act. It includes inappropriate sexual contact or fondling, acquaintance rape, date rape, stranger rape, child sexual abuse, and incest, whether or not there was penetration.

You may encounter situations in which:

  • A participant informs you that they have been sexually violated,
  • A participant reports that someone else has been sexually violated, or
  • You have reason to suspect that someone has been sexually violated

Any of these are must-report situations. In such situations, after making sure the scene and victim are safe, you must follow these steps:

  1. Ask if anyone needs medical.
  2. Ask if the victim would like to speak with Law Enforcement.
  3. Let the victim know you would like to bring a member of the Survivor Advocacy Team (SAT) to the scene.
  4. Call Khaki and and request a Sexual Violence or SV response at your location: “Khaki, I need sexual violence response at <Location>”. If you’re not sure whether this was an SV, you can request advice or say “potential” sexual violence. If you believe that participants on scene might be freaked out by hearing you say “sexual violence” you can call it in as a “Sierra Victor” or “SV”.
  5. Request medical if needed, and Law Enforcement if the participant would like to speak to them.
  6. Do not ask the victim to tell their story, as that can be traumatizing. If the victim *wants* to tell their story, listen and take notes. If you are at the scene where the incident occurred, do not touch or disturb the scene.
  7. Khaki will activate the sexual violence protocol, which will result in a member of Shift Command and the Survivor Advocacy Team rolling to your location, as well as medical and Law Enforcement, if requested.
  8. Make sure the scene is safe and stay with the victim until all resources arrive and you are properly relieved. You may be asked to stay on scene to continue to provide support. Consider requesting Green Dot support for the friends or campmates of the victim.

Signs of potential sexual assault that you might encounter on playa could include signs of physical abuse (bruising, cuts, pains) or torn or missing clothing.

When caring for the victim, some tips:

  • Be sensitive and use appropriate language.
  • Be careful not to stigmatize the victim by speaking loudly or calling unnecessary attention to the victim in any way.
  • Offer the victim a blanket or something to cover themselves to keep warm.
  • Make no comments implying that the victim “asked for it” or is lying. Let the victim know that they are believed, that the assault was not their fault, and that they did not cause it to happen.
  • Reassure the victim that only the perpetrator is to blame for an assault.

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Any of these are situations you must report to Khaki, whether or not the participant wants you to call it in.

Child or Elder Abuse

Nevada law defines child abuse as willfully causing a minor to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. The law recognizes five forms of abuse: physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation, neglect, or endangerment. 

Elder abuse is defined by Nevada law as; the infliction of pain or injury on an older and/or vulnerable person.

The protocols for these kinds of incidents are similar to the DV and SV protocols: call it in, ask for what you need, and describe what you see.  Similar to the Lost Child Protocol, a single Ranger should not be alone with a child or elder at any time. And a Ranger cannot release a child to anyone without the OK of a Ranger Shift Lead and Law Enforcement on the scene. 

Lost Children

It is often said that nobody is really lost in Black Rock City until the event is over, but when a child is lost in Black Rock City, finding that child becomes our first priority. This is a very important issue to the parents, the child, the Rangers, and Law Enforcement. Note that a child is anyone under the age of 18.

Protocol For Reporting A Lost Child

  1. Immediately call in that a child is missing. Use “break break break” to interrupt other radio traffic if necessary.
  2. While Khaki is notifying other departments on different radio channels, gather essential information from the reporting participant:
    • Name, age, height, weight, eye, hair, and skin color and clothing worn
    • Location and time last seen
    • Names of parent/guardians and their camp location (if known)
    • Relationship of reporting participant to child (if not a parent/guardian)
  3. Wait for Khaki to request info. Khaki will do so after contacting LE and Gate; in most cases the gate will be closed to outgoing traffic.
  4. Clearly and slowly transmit essential information to Khaki.
  5. Stay with the parents/guardians and stay available on the radio for Khaki.
  6. All other Rangers should keep the channel clear except for emergencies.
  7. All other Rangers should write down the info and look for the child.
  8. After the child has been located, Khaki will arrange for Rangers with the child to meet with Rangers with the parents, and with law enforcement.
  9. Rangers may not release a child without the okay of a Ranger Shift Lead and Law Enforcement on scene.

Found Children
Rangers encountering a child who is unsure of where their parents or guardians are should call in the incident to Khaki as a “found child.” A found child is less urgent than a lost child, but is still a serious incident.

Not every unaccompanied minor in BRC is a found child. Examples of situations that require intervention: the unaccompanied child appears to be lost, frightened, confused, or around something inappropriate for minors (sexuality, alcohol, etc).

Examples of situations that do not generally require intervention: children in groups, children who appear happy and healthy, children moving with clear purpose, children engaged in structured activities. Use your best judgment, and always err on the side of making sure younger participants are having fun at Burning Man.

Try to gather the following information from the child:

  • Names of parent/guardians
  • Description of parent/guardian
  • Name and location of their camp
  • Location and time they last saw their parents

You can attempt to help the child find their parents, but be sure to check with Khaki before you do this.

When handling a found child episode, a Ranger must never be alone with the child. Make sure that the child is always with a pair of Rangers; if you don’t have a partner (are off-duty, separated from partner momentarily, etc.), enlist a nearby participant to hang out with you until you can get a Ranger partner.

Medical and Psychiatric Emergencies

Rangers who encounter participants having medical and/or psychiatric difficulties on playa should engage the participants and call Khaki to request medical response, or help the participant get to a medical station.  Rangers do not provide medical care (regardless of their off-playa certifications), ESD does . Think of calling for medical as if you would call for 911 in the default world. If a participant can walk to a medical station (escorted or otherwise), they don’t need medical rolled. Use your judgment on whether or not to call it in. Medical emergencies are Must-Reports, but not all medical events are emergencies. As always, when in doubt, call it in.

If ESD is called, stay with the participant until ESD arrives and releases you and your partner from the scene. In any situation involving medical response, there are three points at which you should call Khaki:

  1. When you arrive and assess that medical is needed on scene.
  2. When medical arrives.
  3. When medical has released you and you are ready to continue your patrol.

Rangers must call ESD to the scene or help the participant get to a medical station if the injury is anything more serious than what might normally treated at home (band-aid, etc.).

Rangers may administer first aid until medical arrives at the scene, and will not terminate care, but will hand over care to medical. CPR and rescue breathing are considered first aid. So in an emergency situation, while waiting for a medical response team to arrive, you can provide these services if you’re trained to do so.

When calling Khaki to requesting medical, the focus of your radio call should be your location and nature and severity of complaint. This allows emergency services to send the right response at the right priority level.

Things you absolutely need to mention:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Difficult, uneven, or no breathing
  • Unconsciousness

If you don’t say any of these things, it will be assumed that the participant is conscious, breathing, and not bleeding heavily. ESD needs to know this in order to roll the right resource (i.e., golf cart or ambulance).

Use “I need X at Y for Z.”

“Khaki, Khaki, Bucket”
“Bucket, go for Khaki”
“I need medical at 7:00 & Golf for a leg injury with severe bleeding.”
“Copy, rolling medical to 7:00 and Golf for a leg injury with severe bleeding.”

Occasionally, the radio can get so busy, that you can’t get through. If this is the case, and if Khaki is not responding to you on Control 1, please switch to BRC 911 to request Medical directly from Black Rock, the ESD dispatcher.

After you make the call on BRC 911, remain on that channel until Medical arrives, and have your partner handle traffic on Control 1. Then let Black Rock know that you’re returning to Control 1, as per normal radio protocol.

Here’s how the conversation on BRC 911 would sound:

Bucket: “Black Rock, Black Rock, Ranger Bucket on 911.”
Black Rock: “Go ahead, Ranger Bucket.”
Bucket: “I need Medical at 4:20 and Bravo for a participant complaining of chest pain.”
Black Rock: “Copy, rolling medical to 4:20 and Bravo for a participant complaining of chest pain, Ranger Bucket on scene.”
<Medical arrives>
Bucket: “Ranger Bucket clear, going back to Control 1.”

You MUST stay with the participant until help arrives and you are cleared from the scene by both ESD and by Khaki. At night, wave a flashlight in a circle to help ESD find you. Inform Khaki when ESD arrives on scene. Medical personnel may request that Rangers on scene provide a perimeter to keep onlookers at a distance while they work. Stand so that you can easily see the crowd, the medics, the patient, and your partner. Recruit participants to help you with your perimeter: two Rangers is a weak perimeter, but two Rangers plus five participants is a strong one.

Be mindful of the environment around you. Make sure that the same thing that injured the participant doesn’t injure you, and that well-meaning participants don’t make the situation worse. Describe what is happening in terms of symptoms (dry skin, lowered level of consciousness, burns) rather than making diagnoses (dehydration).


Harassment, as defined within the Black Rock Ranger Department, is any unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, and/or digital conduct engaged in on account of a person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, gender presentation, or marital status, or the perception of any of these.

Sexual harassment, as defined within the Ranger Department, may consist of, but is not limited to, any unwelcome touching, stalking, repeated requests for a date after someone has said “no,” continuing to engage in sexual discussion or banter after being asked to stop, or similar behavior. Harassment will not be tolerated, regardless of who engages in it.

What should you do if you feel you are being harassed?

If you are uncomfortable with the way in which another Ranger is interacting with you, for any reason, the best thing to do is F.L.A.M.E. the situation with that person, as soon as possible after the interaction. If you have been harassed, or have witnessed someone else being harassed, and the situation has not worked, you should report this to your Team Lead/Shift Lead. If you are working a dirt shift, request a face-to-face with Khaki. In harassment situations, people often do not feel comfortable engaging a harasser directly because of fear, anger, embarrassment, hot button issues, etc. If you are not comfortable addressing the situation directly with the Ranger involved, report it to Khaki. If you are not comfortable reporting it to Khaki, contact the Officer of the Day or the Personnel Manager, Flint. The Personnel Manager works and is available to all Rangers year-round. The Personnel Manager can be paged from HQ, or reached by email at [email protected] If you do not need an immediate response, you can also fill out the Ranger Feedback form (available at all HQ kiosks and on the right sidebar of the Ranger website).

Gossiping about what occurred, posting about it on Allcom or social media, or taking the matter outside the Rangers is counterproductive and does not ensure confidentiality. You should be aware that anonymous reports are nearly impossible to investigate. Likewise, the Ranger Leadership cannot take meaningful action when the person making the complaint does not identify the alleged harasser or provide details about what occurred.

What happens if I make a report?

Reports of harassment are very serious. The Ranger Personnel Manager will investigate reports of harassment and will take remedial measures when appropriate. If you have made a report and are one of the principal people involved, you will be notified of the findings when the investigation is complete.

Will my report be kept confidential?

Information about harassment reports will be kept confidential and only shared with Ranger Managers on a need-to-know basis to complete the investigation. The Rangers’ policy with regard to sexual harassment or violence in the workplace is one of zero tolerance. We strongly support and adhere to the Burning Man policy. Burning Man is founded on expectations set by the community standards inherent to it.

One such community standard is creating an environment that is free of sexual harassment and violence by volunteers, staff, or vendors. Any reported occurrences will be investigated and regarded with the utmost compassion and gravity. The investigation will follow the guidelines set by the Burning Man Board for conflict resolution. Violation of this policy may result in progressive discipline, up to and including: counseling, eviction, termination, or legal action. The full text of the Burning Man Project’s organization-wide conflict resolution protocol may be found here.

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