The First Aid Merit Badge: Your Ultimate Guide In 2024 (New)


Quick! You’re on a 10-mile hike and one of the younger Scouts has just collapsed and appears unresponsive. What do you do? Luckily, once you have the Eagle-required, First Aid merit badge, you’ll be prepared to handle this type of emergency, as well as many others!

If you’re following along with the merit badge worksheet, this guide will provide you with all the answers to the requirements needed to learn the First Aid merit badge. Once finished, you’ll be equipped to handle almost any medical emergency and have the ability to save lives. Grab some buddies! First Aid is most fun when completed as a group of Scouts.

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!

While working on this merit badge, I’d highly recommend getting a stocked-out and reliable first aid kit to accompany you on your Scouting adventures. This Survival First Aid Kit on Amazon not only provides all of the medical equipment you’ll need for this badge — it can also help save your life if you’re stranded in the wild!

Take your time to read through the official First Aid merit badge requirements below. This badge will take multiple days to earn, and an experienced Scout always remembers to plan ahead. The slow and steady method isn’t just the best way to earn the First Aid merit badge, it’s the key to reaching your Eagle rank as well! 🙂

What Are The First Aid Merit Badge Requirements?

  1. Demonstrate to your counselor that you have current knowledge of all first-aid requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks.
  2. Explain how you would obtain emergency medical assistance from:
    a. Your home
    b. A remote location on a wilderness camping trip
  3. Define the term triage. Explain the steps necessary to assess and handle a medical emergency until help arrives.
  4. Explain the precautions you must take to reduce the risk of transmitting an infection between you and the victim while administering first aid.
  5. Do the following:
    a. Prepare a first-aid kit for your home. Display and discuss its contents with your counselor.
    b. With an adult leader, inspect your troop’s first-aid kit. Evaluate it for completeness. Report your findings to your counselor and Scout leader.
  6. Describe the early signs and symptoms of each of the following and explain what actions you should take:
    a. Shock
    b. Heart attack
    c. Stroke
  7. Do the following:
    a. Describe the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person.

    b. Demonstrate proper CPR technique using a training device approved by your counselor.
    c. Explain the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).

    d. Demonstrate or simulate the proper use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), using an AED training device if available.
    e. Identify the location of the AED at your school, place of worship, and troop meeting place, if one is present.
  8. Do the following:
    a. Show the steps that need to be taken for someone who has a large open wound or cut that is not bleeding severely.
    b. Show the steps that need to be taken for someone who has a large open wound or cut that is severely bleeding.
    c. Explain when it is appropriate and not appropriate to use a tourniquet. List some of the benefits and dangers of the use of a tourniquet.
    d. Demonstrate the application of a tourniquet without tightening it.
  9. Explain when a bee sting could be life-threatening and what action should be taken for prevention and for first aid.
  10. Describe the signs, symptoms, and potential complications of a fracture and dislocation.
  11. Demonstrate the proper procedures for handling and immobilizing suspected closed and open fractures or dislocations of the
    a. Fingers
    b. Forearm
    c. Wrist

    d. Upper leg
    e. Lower leg
    f. Ankle
  12. Describe the signs, symptoms, and possible complications and demonstrate care for someone with a suspected injury to the neck or back.
  13. Describe symptoms, proper first-aid procedures, and possible prevention measures for the following conditions:
    a
    . Concussion

    b. Anaphylaxis/allergic reactions
    c. Asthma attack
    d. Bruises
    e. Sprains or strains
    f. Hypothermia
    g. Frostbite
    h. Burns—first, second, and third degree
    i. Convulsions/seizures
    j. Dehydration
    k. Muscle cramps
    l. Heat exhaustion
    m. Heat stroke
    n. Abdominal pain
    o. Broken, chipped, or loosened tooth
  14. Do the following:
    a. Describe the conditions under which an injured person should be moved.
    b. If a sick or an injured person must be moved, tell how you would determine the best method. Demonstrate this method.
    c. With helpers under your supervision, improvise a stretcher and move a presumably unconscious person.
  15. Describe the following:
    a. The indications that someone might be a danger to themselves or others.
    b. What action you should take if you suspect that someone might be a danger to themselves or others.
  16. Teach another Scout a first-aid skill selected by your counselor.

Before we dive into the details, let’s discuss what exactly needs to be done before earning the First Aid merit badge. You’ll be required to explain, demonstrate, and act out many skills related to treating an injured person, which you’ll be learning in this guide. In the process, you’ll learn CPR, prepare your own first aid kit for emergencies, and even improvise methods of transporting an injured person!

1) Demonstrate to your counselor that you have current knowledge of all first-aid requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks.

At the end of your merit badge workbook should be a section that recaps the first aid requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class. I’d like to help you to answer each of these, but there are more than 20 topics that should be covered, which would be waaay too much to include in this guide. To see these topics explained, here are my first-aid explanations for Tenderfoot.

Luckily, you should already know most of the answers from your own Scouting experience! Once you’ve studied up a bit, take the time to review each first aid concept with your merit badge counselor.

Explain how you would obtain emergency medical assistance from:
2a) Your home

Calling 911 is the simplest and most effective way to reach emergency medical services from home. When speaking with a 911 dispatcher, immediately inform them of 4 things:

  1. The emergency: Use as much detail as possible to quickly describe the emergency. Instead of saying “my friend is unconscious,” say, “My friend fell off a 6 ft ledge and hit his head. He’s breathing and not bleeding, but is currently unconscious, and has been for the last 3 minutes.”
  2. What’s currently happening: Is anyone performing CPR or taking first-aid measures? Quickly tell the dispatcher how the situation is being handled.
  3. Your location: Be as precise as possible when describing your location. For example, instead of just saying your school’s name, say, “I’m at x school by the bleachers next to the football field.” Send someone to meet the responders and guide them to you, if possible.
  4. Your phone number: EMS may need to call you back if they are unable to find you. In case your call disconnects, make sure to give the dispatcher the phone number that you’re currently calling from.

Stay on the line until help arrives and be sure not to leave the victim unattended. For more valuable info, check out this great video (2:23), made by a real paramedic, on how best to prepare for an effective 911 call!

Additionally, poison control can also be reached at 1-800-222-1222, but should only be called in poisoning instances that are not immediately life-threatening. If phones are unavailable, seek help from a neighbor. You do this by shouting, if possible, so as not to leave the victim unattended.

2b) A remote location on a wilderness camping trip

Before embarking on any wilderness outing, be sure to inform a trusted adult of your plans. Tell them the trip’s location and expected duration so that in an emergency situation they will be able to contact and dispatch rescue services to you. 

Often, you will be able to contact emergency personnel by cell phone. However, if you are unable to do so but are relatively close to civilization, you should send people back in vehicles who will call for help from the nearest phone.

If lost, do not leave your vehicle or campground. Larger objects are more likely to be found by rescue personnel. Signal fires should only be used as a last resort. Do not start a forest fire!

For getting fully prepared to camp safely, I’d highly recommend earning your Camping merit badge. To get started, check out my Ultimate Guide To The Camping Merit Badge!

3) Define the term triage. Explain the steps necessary to assess and handle a medical emergency until help arrives.

In a situation where multiple people are injured, triage refers to the process of determining the extent of each individual’s injuries, then prioritizing their order of treatment based on severity. Basically, you’ll assess how injured each of the victims are, then treat those with life-threatening injuries before those with minor injuries so that the most people can survive.

There are different types of triage techniques, but they almost all rely on grouping patients into 3 main categories. Watch the video (6:09) below for an in-depth understanding of the SALT Triage system:

To recap what you’ve just learned, triaging is done when there is insufficient medical personnel to ensure the most survivors. To properly triage, you must first assess the victim’s condition. First, examine these four factors:

  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation/Coma/Convulsion
  • Dehydration (severe)

If the victim is critically at risk in any of these areas, they’re deemed an ‘emergency (Red)’ case and receive treatment as soon as possible. If the victim is exhibiting symptoms that appear not to be immediately life-threatening, they are deemed as a ‘priority (Yellow),’ and receive treatment following the emergency cases. Non-urgent issues are placed into ‘queue (Green)’ and are handled after the priority cases.

4) Explain the precautions you must take to reduce the risk of transmitting an infection between you and the victim while administering first aid.

Contact with bodily fluids can lead to the transmission of germs and pathogens. These pathogens can cause illness and infection. One should always treat bodily fluids with caution and use protective barriers like gloves or CPR masks to prevent contact, when possible. Never use your bare hands to prevent bleeding, as this could put both you and the victim at risk of infection.

Make sure, after administering first aid, to safely disinfect or discard all contaminated items and thoroughly wash your hands with soap. To avoid infecting others, put biological waste in designated receptacles or bag it twice before disposal.

Do the following:
5
a) Prepare a first-aid kit for your home. Display and discuss its contents with your counselor.
5b) With an adult leader, inspect your troop’s first-aid kit. Evaluate it for completeness. Report your findings to your counselor and Scout leader.

To learn about some of the first aid essentials you’ll need in your home and vehicle, start with this resource from the Red Cross. For a visual, check out the following video (4:05)!

The picture below gives you an example of what you might typically find in a great first-aid kit. The Survival First Aid Kit I mentioned earlier has all of these things and more, so I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a compact and dependable first aid kit. Below are the elements of a great first aid kit, with each item number corresponding to the item’s name:

At the very least, the first aid kit you purchase should be equipped with:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze Pads
  • Gloves
  • Sting Relief
  • Elastic Bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • CPR Masks
  • Moleskin Blister Covers
  • Safety Pins

You can check your troop’s first aid kit against this list to see if anything should be added. Remember to replace your first aid kit’s contents every few years, as most first aid supplies expire!

Describe the early signs and symptoms of each of the following and explain what actions you should take:
6a) Shock

Shock is your biological response to trauma and results in the weakening of blood flow throughout the body. This reaction can be caused by a variety of factors such as severe injury, dehydration, heart failure, allergic reaction, and blood loss.

A person who is in shock will often have clammy skin, cold sweats, and paleness of skin. They will likely have difficulty taking full breaths and may faint unexpectedly.

Helpful Link: Check out this succinct guide from the Mayo Clinic and this more detailed article from the Cleveland Clinic to learn more about recognizing and rendering first aid for shock!

When treating shock, start by calling 911. Then, try to calm the victim. Have them lie down, loosen tight clothing, and cover them with a blanket if needed. Unless you suspect a head, neck, spine, or leg injury, elevate the victim’s feet by about 12 inches.

Don’t move the person except to get them away from further danger, and don’t give the person food or drink. If they are vomiting, turn their head to the side to prevent them from choking — unless you suspect a spinal injury, in which case you’ll need to use a “log roll.”

Perform any other first aid measures that are needed, such as CPR (if unresponsive and not breathing!) or wound care. Keep talking to the victim to reassure them, and note down any details around the emergency which could be useful to medical personnel.

6b) Heart attack

Some of the early signs of a heart attack can be severe chest pressure, left arm pain, jaw pain, profuse sweating, gray skin coloring, nausea, difficulty breathing, or a feeling of weakness. You will be learning much more about heart attacks, as well to respond to them, in your upcoming CPR course. 

Helpful Link: Check out this info on heart attack symptoms from the CDC. Note that women often have less obvious symptoms, like nausea and tiredness!

Without knowledge of CPR, you should immediately place the victim in a seated position with their knees raised and instruct someone nearby to call 911. An AED should also be used in the case of a halted pulse.

Here is a quick and informative video (2:00) on the differences between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack, as these two are often confused:

(This video gives a great explanation, but note that it’s from the UK. Call 911 in a medical emergency!)
6c) Stroke

Strokes are caused by an interruption of blood flow supplied to the brain. Symptoms of a stroke can be recalled by the simple acronym, FAST:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 9-1-1

While waiting for an ambulance, speak to the victim in a calm and reassuring manner. You can warm them with a blanket as well. However, do not provide them with food or water, as this can cause greater complications after the stroke’s onset. If they fall unconscious and are not breathing, be ready to perform CPR. 

This video (2:31) from the CDC provides more details about how to recognize and handle strokes!

Ready to move on to requirement 7a) of the First Aid mb? Click here!

Congrats on Finishing Part 1 of the First Aid Merit Badge!

Wow, we just covered a ton of potentially life-saving info. Great work, Scout! Are you starting to become more confident in your first-aid skills? You should! You definitely deserve a break at this point; go get a nice refreshing glass of water and give yourself a huge pat on the back. 🙂

Once you’re ready to continue on to part 2 of the First Aid merit badge (Requirements 7-12) click here!

Also, if you’re interested in the difficulty rankings for every Eagle-required merit badge, you can check out my full guide here! PS: The article also links to my other ultimate badge guides that’ll help you to complete your merit badge worksheets.

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our 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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