The Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide In 2020


The Eagle-required Emergency Preparedness merit badge will test your planning skills in the face of unexpected disasters. After all, a scout must be prepared for anything! In earning this badge you’ll learn useful rescue techniques, understand the history behind disaster preparedness, and prepare your own household for a potential emergency.

In this guide, I’ll be walking you through the answers to each of the Emergency Preparedness knowledge requirements so that you can complete your merit badge worksheet and earn this Eagle-required badge. Pay close attention! In requirement 9 you’ll be putting what you’ve learned to the test by creating an emergency response plan for your own family.

Before we get started, if you have other Eagle-required merit badges to earn, I’d recommend checking out my Difficulty Ranking Guide to Every Eagle-required Badge. There, you’ll also find the links to my other merit badge guides, as well as a description and summary of each badge’s requirements. I’m certain this resource will be helpful to scouts on their road to Eagle!

Also, remember that ScoutSmarts should just serve as your starting point for merit badge research. In school, we’re taught not to plagiarize, and the same is true for Scouting worksheets. Answer these questions in your own words, do further research, and I promise you’ll gain much more from every merit badge you earn!

Now it’s time to begin earning your Emergency Preparedness merit badge. First, thoroughly read through each of the badge requirements below. Then, I’ll help you to answer each question and understand what you can do to be prepared for and respond to any emergency!

What Are The Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Earn the First Aid Merit Badge.
  2. Do the following:
    • 2a. Discuss with your counselor the aspects of emergency preparedness:
      • 2a I. Prevention
        2a II.Protection
        2a III. Mitigation
        2a IV. Response
        2a V. Recovery
        (Include in your discussion the kinds of questions that are important to ask yourself as you consider each of these.)
    • 2b. Using a chart, graph, spreadsheet, or another method approved by your counselor, demonstrate your understanding of each aspect of emergency preparedness listed in requirement 2a (prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery) for 10 emergency situations from the list below. You must use the first five situations underlined below, plus any other five of your choice. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
      • 2b I. Home kitchen fire
        2b II. Home basement/storage room/garage fire
        2b III. Explosion in the home
        2b IV. Automobile accident
        2b V. Food-borne disease (food poisoning

        2b VI. Fire or explosion in a public place
        2b VII. Vehicle stalled in the desert
        2b VIII. Vehicle trapped in a blizzard
        2b IX. Earthquake or tsunami
        2b X. Mountain/backcountry accident
        2b XI. Boating accident
        2b XII. Gas leak in a home or a building
        2b XIII. Tornado or hurricane
        2b XIV. Major flooding or a flash flood
        2b XV. Toxic chemical spills and releases
        2b XVI. Nuclear power plant emergency
        2b XVII. Avalanche (snowslide or rockslide)
        2b XVIII. Violence in a public place
    • 2c. Meet with and teach your family how to get or build a kit, make a plan, and be informed for the situations on the chart you created for requirement 2b. Complete a family plan. Then meet with your counselor and report on your family meeting, discuss their responses, and share your family plan.
  3. Show how you could safely save a person from the following:
    • 3a. Touching a live household electric wire.
      3b. A structure filled with carbon monoxide
      3c. Clothes on fire.
      3d. Drowning using nonswimming rescues (including accidents on ice).
  4. Show three ways of attracting and communicating with rescue planes/aircraft.
  5. With another person, show a good way to transport an injured person out of a remote and/or rugged area, conserving the energy of rescuers while ensuring the well-being and protection of the injured person.
  6. Do the following:
    • 6a. Describe the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS)
    • 6b. Identify the local government or community agencies that normally handle and prepare for emergency services similar to those of the NIMS or ICS. Explain to your counselor:
      • 6b I. How the NIMS/ICS can assist a Boy Scout troop when responding in a disaster
        6b II. How a group of Scouts could volunteer to help in the event of these types of emergencies.
    • 6c. Find out who is your community’s emergency management director and learn what this person does to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from emergency situations in your community. Discuss this information with your counselor, utilizing the information you learned from requirement 2b.
  7. Do the following:
    • 7a. Take part in an emergency service project, either a real one or a practice drill, with a Scouting unit or a community agency.
      7b. Prepare a written plan for mobilizing your troop when needed t
      o do emergency service. If there is already a plan, explain it. Tell your part in making it work.
  8. Do the following:
    • 8a. Tell the things a group of Scouts should be prepared to do, the training they need , and the safety precautions they should take for the following emergency services:
      • 8a I. Crowd and traffic control
        8a II. Messenger service and communication.
        8a III. Collection and distribution services.
        8a IV. Group feeding, shelter, and sanitation.
    • 8b. Prepare a personal emergency service pack for a mobilization call. Prepare a family kit (suitcase or waterproof box) for use by your family in case an emergency evacuation is needed. Explain the needs and uses of the contents.
  9. Do ONE of the following:
    • 9a. Using a safety checklist approved by your counselor, inspect your home for potential hazards. Explain the hazards you find and how they can be corrected.
      9b. Review or develop a plan of escape for your family in case of fire in your home.
      9c. Develop an accident prevention program for five family activities outside the home (such as taking a picnic or seeing a movie) that includes an analysis of possible hazards, a proposed plan to correct those hazards, and the reasons for the corrections you propose.

1) Earn the First Aid Merit Badge.

The first requirement of Emergency Preparedness is to earn your First Aid merit badge. Have you already checked out my ultimate guide to the First Aid badge? First aid is one of the most important skills to have when responding to an emergency.

To handle many of the disasters you’ll learn about in the Emergency Preparedness merit badge, you should be familiar with CPR, the triage technique, as well as proper first-aid procedures. In earning your First Aid merit badge, you’ll learn these skills and more, enabling you to respond to a wide variety of medical emergencies.

2a) Discuss with your counselor the aspects of emergency preparedness:
— I) Prevention
— II) Protection
— III) Mitigation
— IV) Response
— V) Recovery
(Include in your discussion the kinds of questions that are important to ask yourself as you consider each of these.
)

The 5 aspects of emergency preparedness were first established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as a way to improve our national response when facing different types of disasters. By using the 5 preparedness aspects effectively, you’ll be able to lessen the damages caused by an emergency, or even prevent it entirely.

FEMA, as a part of the US Department of Homeland Security, has a central national preparedness goal:

“A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”

FEMA’s mission statement is where the Scouting methodology of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery comes from! Now let’s break down each of these emergency preparedness points. Later, you’ll be using this same method to plan your response for future situations that could occur.

  1. Prevention: What are some of the possible hazards of this activity? The best way to handle an emergency is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. As a scout, this means that you should always be on the lookout for potential risks. Prevention means that if you identify a dangerous situation, you’ll immediately take steps to stop any damage or harm from occurring.

  2. Protection: If an emergency does occur, what can I do beforehand to make sure that those involved are not harmed? Be prepared. Protection means taking early actions that can reduce the damage caused by a threat. Know what steps to take, beforehand. Shelters and guards are both forms of protection that can lessen the impact of an emergency.

  3. Mitigation: How can I help to lessen the likelihood and impact of an emergency? Look for ways to make things ‘less bad’. Mitigation means putting plans in place to lessen the damage caused by an emergency. Clearly marking safety exits and mapping out escape plans are both ways of lessening the possible damage caused by an emergency.

  4. Response: If the emergency does occur, what steps could be taken to prevent further injuries or damages? Your response should be to take action. Responding to an emergency means first assessing the situation. Then, preventing further damages, injuries, and panic. Examples of an effective response force are firefighters and on-campus safety teams who can quickly arrive at the scene of an emergency.

  5. Recovery: How can we lessen the damages caused by this emergency and spur a faster healing process? Consider how you’d act after experiencing a crisis. Recovery means responding to the situation so that the victims’ mental and physical states can improve as quickly as possible. Urgent medical treatments and post-emergency psychological care are both examples of methods that quicken recovery.

Keep these points in mind as you complete the rest of the Emergency Preparedness merit badge’s requirements. The idea of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery should guide your thought process when preparing for any type of emergency. Now it’s your turn! Try these aspects out by completing requirement 2b.

2b) Using a chart, graph, spreadsheet, or another method approved by your counselor, demonstrate your understanding of each aspect of emergency preparedness listed in requirement 2a (prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery) for 10 emergency situations from the list below. You must use the first five situations underlined below, plus any other five of your choice. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
2b I) Home kitchen fire
2b II) Basement/storage room/garage fire
2b III) Explosion in the home
2b IV) Automobile accident
2b V) Food-borne disease (food poisoning)

2b VI) Fire or explosion in a public place
2b VII) Vehicle stalled in the desert

2b VIII) Vehicle trapped in a blizzard
2b IX) Earthquake or tsunami
2b X) Mountain/backcountry accident
2b XI) Boating accident
2b XII) Gas leak in a home or a building
2b XIII) Tornado or hurricane
2b XIV) Major flooding or a flash flood
2b XV) Toxic chemical spills and releases
2b XVI) Nuclear power plant emergency
2b XVII) Avalanche (snowslide or rockslide)
2b XVIII) Violence in a public place

I’ve done research on the 5 additional situations that I feel might be applicable to most people. However, I encourage you to look further into the other topics if they interest you. The best way to prepare for an emergency is by being curious.

PreventionProtectionMitigationResponseRecovery
2b I) Home kitchen fireBe careful when using stoves and ovens. Keep loose and flammable materials away from heat sources.Keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen. Have a fire response plan in place beforehand. Don’t put water on an oil fire.Have a plan to evacuate your family. Make sure all doors are closed and walkways are kept clear.Stay calm and respond quickly. Try to extinguish the fire. If that fails, evacuate and call 911.Take care of any injuries and file insurance claims. Stay cheerful and support your family.
2b II) Home basement/storage room/garage fireKeep loose debris and flammable materials securely stored. Have multiple fire extinguishers.Know the location of your home fire extinguisher. Have a response and an evacuation plan.Notify your family to quickly grab valuables and evacuate. Stay low to avoid breathing smoke.Close all doors to slow the fire’s spread. Dampen area near the fire, if possible.Identify relatives or friends to temporarily live with. File an insurance claim.
2b III) Explosion in the home Inspect gas sources regularly. Avoid living near explosives?Own a fire extinguisher and keep a first aid kit outside the home.Create an evacuation plan and know first aid. Have emergency numbers posted.Extinguish small fires and evacuate your family to a safe area.Work with professions to repair the damage.
2b IV) Automobile accidentDrive under control at all times. Get your vehicle routinely checked by a professional mechanic. Plan your route.Always wear your seatbelt and keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. Larger vehicles are often safer.Bring your vehicle offroad after an accident. Call 911. Stay far away from oncoming traffic.Be alert. Stay calm. Move your family far offroad. Deliver first aid when safe.Call a reputable towing company. Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
2b V) Food-borne disease (food poisoning)Toss out spoiled foods. Wash hands. Inspect your food beforehand. Cook foods completely.Know the symptoms of food poisoning. Be aware of poison control line numbers.Have fluids with electrolytes in your house. Stop eating if something tastes off.Tell an adult. Do not take any medications unless approved by a medical professional.Drink fluids and get lots of rest. Go to a doctor if after 2 days you do not improve.
2b VII) Vehicle stalled in the desertHave your vehicle regularly checked. Keep at least 1/3 tank of fuel. Avoid driving in dangerous conditionsLet someone know where you’ll be going. Keep a cell phone and supplies on you at all times.Carry water and car repair tools. Stay cool and ration your supplies.Raise the hood and stay near the vehicle and road. Signal distress to passing cars.Get well hydrated. Treat for heat exhaustion and sunburn. Repair your vehicle at a certified shop.
2b X) Mountain/ Backcountry accident Carry a map and cell phone. Inform people of your location beforehand. Tread cautiously on uneven terrain.Pack reliable survival gear. Bring a first aid kit, food, and water. Understand how to signal a rescue aircraft.Be in strong physical condition and plan for hazards beforehand. Use the buddy system. Stay within limits.Signal for help. If lost, remain with the vehicle or in the same place. Ration food and perform first aid.Repair/replace damaged gear. Take your time to recover. Use what you’ve learned to avoid future accidents.
2b XIII) Tornado or hurricaneTry to avoid living somewhere prone to natural disasters?Create an emergency kit. Pack food and water to last 2+ weeks. Decide on a family shelter location.Have a family response plan beforehand. Keep a battery-powered radio.Avoid glass or nearby windows. Evacuate quickly. Make sure everyone is accounted for.Clean up any debris around your house. Beware of standing on unstable structures. Contact your insurance.
2b XIV) Major flooding or a flash floodLive in an area that has not historically been flooded. Keep sandbags at home.Keep all valuable in a secure, waterproof spot. Sandbag your home. Evacuate if it’s recommended.Avoid driving in floodwaters. Keep emergency food and water in your home.Listen to the radio for flooding zones and evacuate to a safe location. Avoid entering floodwaters.Return home only when completely safe. Wear heavy boots and gloves during cleanup. Be aware of electrocution risks.
2b XVIII) Violence in a public place Be on the lookout for suspicious or aggressive behavior. If you see something, say something to an authority.Identify exits and places to seek cover. Place a solid object between you and the attacker. Be ready to run quickly.Wear reliable footwear and clothing that doesn’t restrict movement. Stay in good physical condition.Call 911. Evacuate quickly but avoid trampling others. As a last resort, incapacitate the attacker by striking the eyes, ears, or groin.Connect with other survivors. Attacks can be traumatizing. Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a psychologist.

I’m gonna be honest with you. I’ve already spent like 3 hours making this, but there’s way too much information to include in a table. 🙁 You might need to do your own research. Ready.gov is an awesome resource made by FEMA that covers each of these emergencies in detail. Use their sidebar to check out the emergencies you’re most interested in here.

2c) Meet with and teach your family how to get or build a kit, make a plan, and be informed for the situations on the chart you created for requirement 2b. Complete a family plan. Then meet with your counselor and report on your family meeting, discuss their responses, and share your family plan.

Creating an emergency supply kit is the first step you should take to prepare your family for any disaster. In the event of a disaster where resources are cut off, a supply kit should be used to keep your family alive for close to 2 weeks.

Watch the following video (5:38) to learn the types of supplies your family might need.

Got it? Personally, I recommend keeping around 2 weeks of food and water supplies for each family member. To recap, some of the things you’ll need in your emergency supply kit include:

  • Water (1 gallon per day, per person)
  • Food (Non-perishables like MRE’s, canned goods, dried foods)
  • A can opener
  • A first aid kit
  • A flashlight
  • A radio
  • Prescription medication
  • Batteries
  • Important documents and insurance
  • A whistle
  • Trash bags

Once you have your emergency supply kit ready, it’s time to make a family emergency plan. In this, your family will decide on what to do and where you’ll all meet if an emergency occurs. 

To learn the best way to write your family emergency plan, watch the official FEMA planning video (5:26) below:

For more information on building a kit and making a family plan, you can check out Ready.gov’s article.

Show how you could safely save a person from the following:
3a) Touching a live household electric wire.

The best method to rescue someone being electrocuted by a live wire is to quickly turn off the electricity, if possible. This can be done by accessing the house’s main circuit breaker and flipping the top main circuit breakers (often a pair) to the OFF position. If you don’t know the location of your house’s circuit breaker, take the time right now to ask your parents. 

If you’re unable to turn off the electricity, you’ll need to separate the victim from the electrical source. Take extreme caution! Touching the wire, the victim, or any conductive objects could cause you to be electrically shocked as well. 

Using a long, dry pole made of either wood, rubber, or plastic, move the live wire away from the victim. Avoid contact with any water and metal near the electrical source. 

Once the victim is no longer being shocked immediately call 911. If they are unconscious, avoid touching them unless you are 100% sure that it is safe. A victim of electrical shock may have had their heart rhythm disturbed, so it’s important that they quickly receive emergency medical care.

3b) A structure filled with carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is toxic when inhaled. Many types of machinery such as cars, generators, and ovens create carbon monoxide as a byproduct when used. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness, and even death.

If you or anyone you know experiences any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, open all doors and windows immediately. Turn off the appliance that may be causing the leak, and then evacuate the building.

The following video (2:56) will quickly walk you through the 5 steps for performing first aid on a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.

To ensure that you and your family are not exposed to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, you should also install a CO detector in your home close to where you sleep. This detector will emit a loud sound, alerting you if there are unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the building.

3c) Clothes on fire.

In most cases, a person whose clothes are on fire should immediately stop, drop, and roll:

  1. Stop: Running adds oxygen to the fire and could cause the flames to spread. Immediately freeze in place.
  2. Drop: Gently bring yourself to the ground to avoid further injury. Spread yourself out lengthwise so that a large portion of your body is in contact with the ground.
  3. Roll: While covering your face with your hands, roll side to side in a motion that will smother the flames. Continue until the fire is completely extinguished.

The stop, drop, and roll method is recommended to prevent further injury if the victim’s shirt or pants catch fire. However, if their clothing is loose and can easily be removed, or their jacket is on fire, it’s recommended that they quickly take it off.

If you witness this type of emergency, help to extinguish the fire if you have water or a non-flammable safety blanket on hand. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if burns are charred, blistering, or if the victim is in excessive pain.

3d) Drowning using nonswimming rescues (including accidents on ice).

When assisting a drowning person, your own safety is first and foremost. Always try to reach out using poles, floaties, or long objects before entering the water yourself. You can also toss buoyancy devices such as life jackets or boards to the victim which can hold onto to stay above water.

To see these non-swimming rescues demonstrated, watch the following video (5:42):

When saving an individual who’s fallen through ice into cold water, you should also reach out to them using a long object such as a stick or pole. The main difference is that you want to approach the victim while on your belly. This is to distribute your weight over the ice and prevent it from breaking under you.

Here’s a great video (2:34) that’ll show you how to perform 3 different types of ice rescues:

Click here to visit part 2 of my guide to the Emergency Preparedness merit badge!

Conclusion

My friend, we’ve just made it halfway through our journey into Emergency Preparedness! Awesome job reading this far; you’ve definitely earned a long and relaxing break. Once you’re rested up, it’s time to check out part 2 of my guide, which will help you to answer requirements 4-9 of this Eagle-required badge! 🙂

(PS: This is a 2-parter because breaking up 5000+ word articles helps the pages to load faster!)

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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