Emergency Preparedness Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Related Advancement and Awards
• Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Safety, Search and Rescue, and Wilderness Survival merit badges
Emergency Preparedness BSA Award


Emergency Preparedness Information – What is an emergency?Usually, it is something unforeseen or unexpected—something that
requires immediate action. It can be related to weather, such as a hurricane, a tornado, a snowstorm, or a flood. An emergency can be an accident, such as an explosion, a fire, or a car accident. Immediate action is often required to avoid, correct, or mitigate the incident from spreading and becoming a greater problem.

Every community has trained rescuers and first responders, including firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and others who swing into action when emergencies happen. These professionals and
volunteers go through extensive training and often have serious equipment and technology backing their actions. On the state and national level, agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide support in large-scale disasters.

Other professionals and volunteers work to help people in the aftermath of disasters. Even before a disaster ends, groups like the American Red Cross and other members of the National Voluntary
Organizations Active in Disaster network begin making plans to rescue, shelter, feed, and heal those who have been affected.

Despite the work of all these highly trained adults, there is plenty of room for youth to get involved. Scouts are often called on to help because they know first aid and they know about the discipline and planning needed to support a situation that requires leadership. Scouting gives you the opportunity to understand and respond to your community’s emergency preparedness plan.

The Five Aspects of Emergency Preparedness – Emergency Aidpersonnel, such as Red Cross and FEMA workers, use many of the same terms when talking about emergency management. That is just one reason it is a good idea to become familiar with such terms; if you find yourself working with emergency personnel, you will understand what your actions are helping to accomplish.

  1. Preparedness: When you take actions to prepare for emergencies, you recognize the possible threats from natural and other disasters. Making a plan and practicing it, assembling an emergency or disaster supplies kit, and installing warning devices are all actions you can take to prepare for an emergency.
  2. Response: In this phase of emergency management, you may be called upon to help with shelter, first aid, and other activities. On a personal level, your response to an emergency can take many forms, such as evacuating an area. Your response can help reduce the occurrence of secondary damage.
  3. Recovery: After a disaster or other emergency, the goal is to try to get things back to “normal.” In addition to rebuilding and repairing property, there is also work to be done to try to bring physical and emotional health back to a stable condition.
  4. Mitigation: The word “mitigate” means “to lessen in force or intensity” and “to make less severe.” You can help reduce the loss of life and property by managing risk, becoming aware of responding to risks and hazards, and lessening the impact of future disasters. That means taking action before the next disaster.
  5. Prevention: By planning ahead and taking prevention seriously, you can help prevent accidents from happening. Prevention can make the difference between inconvenience and tragedy.

Being Prepared For Disaster – Being prepared for an emergency means knowing how to identify a situation when it is happening or about to happen, knowing how to act in such a way to avoid further injury to oneself and others, and being able to stay calm and make informed choices to correct or lessen the effect of the situation. These tips may also be helpful:

  • When an emergency arises, first take a deep breath.
  • Assess the situation and plan how to proceed.
  • Focus on your task.

The most difficult part of responding to an emergency is knowing how to identify a situation where no action is possible or should even be taken. The safety of the rescuer and rescue team always comes first.

Emergencies need not be sensational to be urgent. Checking in on an elderly person during a winter power outage can be just as important as knowing how to escape a burning building.

Click above for an enlarged view.

Lost-Person Search – When you are searching for a lost person, it’s
important to work methodically so you cover the entire search area without missing sections or going over sections multiple times. The diagrams here show a good approach.

In the above two diagrams, three teams are searching an area between a road and a trail. Team 1 lays ribbon lines (dotted lines) at the edges of its search lanes. Teams 2 and 3 pick up the ribbons and move them to the edges of their search lanes as they begin searching. The area behind the teams is therefore clearly identified as having been searched, and the area outside the ribbons is identified for the “pivot” and continuing search pattern.

When teams pivot to continue the search, they move to the sides (shown by the dotted arrows) to the outside of the ribbons. Teams move the ribbons again to the outside of the search pattern. As they continue “sweeping” in this way, the searched area will expand farther to the left and right.

Resources and References

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Emergency Preparedness Information Troop Meetings Main Event