September is National Preparedness Month, so naturally our online Roundtable focuses on Emergency Preparedness. Don’t think this theme is just about badges, though; our BSA motto: Be Prepared, is our message.
Here is the index to planning your program this month:
- Possible Main Events
- Related Advancement and Awards
- Leadership Planning
- Parents Can Help
- Meeting Plans and Ideas for Emergency Preparedness
- Emergency Preparedness Information
- The Five Aspects of Emergency Preparedness
- Being Prepared For Disaster
- Resources and References
This topic is fully explained in Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews, vol. 3 pp 37-1–14, but the Ready/gov topic: “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” rounds out program possibilities for crew, team or troop at ready.gov/september.
In dealing with emergency situations like a hurricane or winter storm, we have a chance to prepare for a coming disaster. At other times, as with earthquakes and tornadoes, there is very little warning. But by learning and practicing emergency skills, we can be ready whenever disaster strikes.
Making correct decisions under pressure can be difficult for anyone, but if Scouts practice first aid, leadership, and other skills they can be more ready for emergency situations. This theme’s troop activities allow Scouts to practice each of these skills as they work up to a main event that will test what they’ve practiced. Here are the resources and suggestions from Program Features for Troops, Teams and Crews, vol. 3 pp 37-1–14. Use these ideas to plan a month’s worth of challenging, fun activities for your Scouts.
Three Possible Main Events for Troop, Team and Crew Programs
|Essential (Tier I) Tour one or more locations where emergency response teams are housed. This could be a fire department that performs all-risk duties, a helicopter response team for medical emergencies, the area for a search and rescue team’s deployment drill, or the American Red Cross. .|
|Challenging (Tier II) Join with several other teams to prepare and run through a variety of scenarios where Scouts can act out the way they would handle a real-life situation. Include use of first-aid skills.
Throw in unexpected changes to some situations to test how Scouts will truly handle themselves, such as not having the right equipment or adding another “victim.” Use props and utilize the entire area of your meeting space to enhance the experience. Consider holding the event at a location that is different from the usual meeting area so Scouts cannot rely on the familiar.
Add a night of camping to round out the weekend.
|Advanced (Tier III)
Older youth can participate in a citizen training (CERT) program offered by an emergency management agency; perhaps they’ll discover a vocation or avocation to pursue for decades to come.
Work with a Wilderness First Aid provider to quality your Scouts as Wilderness First Responders.
Participate in an official state or local disaster drill that uses volunteers to serve as victims. Such mass-casualty drills are important for professional rescuers to gain practice in case of a real emergency.Add a night or two of camping to round out the weekend.
RELATED ADVANCEMENT AND AWARDS
Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Safety, Search and Rescue, and Wilderness Survival merit badges
Survival Varsity Scout activity pin
Ranger: Emergency Preparedness core requirement
This month’s activities should:
- Provide an understanding of basic first-aid techniques.
- Give youth a good grasp of the fundamentals for dealing with life-threatening situations.
- Help youth develop enhanced self-confidence for making decisions in stressful situations.
- Provide youth a chance to practice emergency skills in a realistic scenario.
- Encourage the pursuit of future emergency preparedness opportunities.
PARENTS CAN HELP WITH THE EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM FEATURE BY:
Assisting with instruction in first aid and emergency preparedness
Helping to plan and lead the main event
Providing transportation for the main event
Helping create emergency kits
Contacting emergency agencies that could help with training and tours
As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing emergency preparedness as your program feature during your planning meetings:
- How prepared are we currently for emergencies? Where would we like to be? How do we get there?
- What types of emergencies could we encounter in everyday life?
- What are some local agencies that regularly respond to emergencies? Which ones could help us prepare?
- What will we do for our main event?
- What other subtopics would fit well with this feature?
- What specific badge, award, or requirements should we focus on fulfilling?
- To meet our needs, what should we change in the sample meeting plans?
EDGE for the Month
Decide how to use the EDGE method to get the job done:
Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Safety, Search and Rescue, and Wilderness Survival merit badge pamphlets
American Red Cross.
- A Family Guide to First Aid and Emergency Preparedness. American Red Cross, 2012.
- First Aid/CPR/AED (participant’s manual). American Red Cross, 2014.
- Swimming and Water Safety Manual. American Red Cross, 2014.
Forgey, William W. Basic Essentials: Wilderness First Aid, 3rd ed. Falcon Guides, 2007.
Kelly, Kate. Living Safe in an Unsafe World: The Complete Guide to Family Preparedness. New American Library Trade, 2000.
Meyer-Crissey, Pamela, and Brian L. Crissey, Ph.D. Common Sense in Uncommon Times, 2nd ed. Granite Publishing, 2012.
NASAR. Introduction to Search and Rescue. National Association for Search and Rescue, 2008.
Setnicka, Tim J. Wilderness Search and Rescue. Appalachian Mountain Club, 1981.
U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. First There First Care: Bystander Care for the Injured. U.S. Department of Transportation, 2005.
Wilderness First Aid, Emergency Care in Remote Locations, Emergency Care and Safety Institute, 4th ed.
Organizations and Websites
American Red Cross
Community Emergency Response Teams
Federal Emergency Management Agency
INSARAG marking system
National Association for Search and Rescue
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Search and Rescue X-Codes
Related Program Features
First Aid, Safety, Wilderness Survival
Photo and Illustration Credits
(Shutterstock.com, courtesy: emergency sign, ©Nils Versemann; fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, and hazard sign, ©Tatiana Popova; antiseptic wipe, bandage, and scissors, ©Pamela Au; flashlight, ©Brittny)
(Scouts helping sort supplies, Scouts at fire station, BSA file)
(Lost-Person Search diagram, BSA/John McDearmon)
(neckerchief, BSA file)
BSA is grateful to Matthew McGroarty, Las Vegas, Nevada, for his help with creating the Emergency Preparedness program feature. Matthew served as the Western Region Venturing president, 2009–2010.