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Emergency 2016

Day 4: Emergency Skills

Adia Buckle and Trenton Thorne
Venturer Scouts and Youth Spokespeople
47th Hamilton Scouting Group
Hamilton, Ontario
Everyone experiences an emergency at some point in their lives. Emergencies can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone. That’s why in Scouting we focus being safe and prepared for any given situation. An emergency is a serious, unexpected and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. With all the fun we have with Scouting activities like hiking, snowshoeing and survival camping, we should keep in mind that fun can quickly turn into danger. All of us want to have fun at camp and in our usual meeting spots, but safety is the number one priority. Besides the usual risks that could happen in day-to-day life, such as tripping or getting small cuts, there are some situations that apply specifically to Scouting.

Safety Week — Emergency Skills


Emergency Skills for Deep Cuts

In Scouting, we learn many survival skills, and in most situations, these survival skills involve potentially dangerous tools and/or resources. Earning your Knife, Fire, Axe and Saw, or Stove and Lantern Permit can not only make you feel pretty cool, but they are also to certify that you can use tools safely and effectively. However, even with permits, accidents can happen. Any sharp object, such as a knife or axe or saw, has the ability to cut you. If that happens, there are steps to follow to fix the situation:
  1. One of the first steps is to notify a Scouter. If there is not one close to you at the time of the accident, or if you are hurt, send someone else to get a Scouter who can help with first aid.
  2. If the wound is more than a scratch, stop bleeding first by applying pressure.
  3. Search your first aid kit for an antiseptic wipe and clean the wound; make sure you continue to apple pressure on the cut. Not sure how long to hold down the wipe? Pro tip: sing “Happy Birthday” in your head while pressing firmly on the cut.
  4. Cover it with a sterile bandage. Whether the cover is an adhesive bandage or a wrap, make sure it’s covering the cut from any dirt or bacteria that area may come into contact with. If the wound is serious, call emergency services or go with the designated first aiders to the hospital.

Emergency Skills for Burns

When dealing with fire, stoves and lanterns, there is always the risk of getting burned. Here are essential steps to respond to this type of emergency situation:
  1. Remove body part from the fire. If you’ve already done that, you’re well on route to step two.
  2. If clothing has caught on fire remember to stop, drop and roll.
  3. If the burn is slightly tender and red, run it under cold water to sooth the pain. If blisters have formed, or if your skin has begun to change colour, seek medical attention immediately.
  4. Apply bandage.

Emergency skills for lost bearings

When on hikes, whether you are alone, with a fellow Scout or with your Group, it is recommended that you stay on the trail. In a situation where you stray off the trail, here is what you should do:
  1. The first thing to do is hug a tree! If you stay put, there is a higher likelihood that you will be found. It will also stop you from wandering around in circles and getting even more lost.
  2. Use a whistle if you have one on you (and you should!), blow three whistle blasts. This will notify anyone within earshot that there is an emergency. If no one comes, wait 30 seconds and repeat. If you do not have a whistle, yell for help, but stay in one place!
  3. When on a hike, you can prevent getting lost by using the buddy system and staying on the trail.

Emergency skills for the winter

If you’re out and about in the cold winter months, frostbite and hypothermia always present dangers. To prevent these things from happening, here are a few tips to remember:
  1. Dress warmly and cover exposed skin. If you do not have access to proper winter attire, talk to one of your Scouters before participating in outdoor winter activities.
  2. Recognize the signs of hypothermia or frostbite - cold skin and a prickling feeling; numbness; red, white, blue or grayish skin; hard looking skin; clumsiness or muscle stiffness.
  3. Remove yourself from the cold as soon as possible if you recognize these signs.
  4. Your Scouter will then phone home, or emergency services, if needed.
If you follow these steps when an emergency breaks out, you will know how to deal with it wherever you are. In any case, always make sure to have an emergency plan prepared, and make sure all Scouters and youth members know the emergency plan. To help assist you plan for safe, fun adventures, use the Plan-Do-Review method from the Canadian Path. This process will ensure you have fun and stay safe on all your Scouting journeys. Check out the video below for more information.
Emergency Safety Tips
Scouts Canada’s Youth Spokespeople challenge you to participate in Safety Week by sharing your #SafeScouting story on social media, or the MyAdventures Blog. You can also forward the daily tips to friends and family to make sure everyone in your community stays safe.


Scouts Canada, the country’s leading youth organization, offers challenging programs for boys, girls and youth age 5-26 in thousands of individual groups in most cities and towns across Canada.

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