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December 13, 2017, by Linda Presley

Emergency Preparedness – How to Save People From Household Hazards

Life-threatening accidents can happen very quickly. While we don’t like to think about the worst-case scenario, it is essential to be prepared for when bad things happen. Scouts working on the Emergency Preparedness merit badge will need to show competence in the following areas. If you’re a scout working on the badge or brushing up on your preparedness skills, or a merit badge counselor trying to develop basic competencies, this article is for you.

Live Electrical Wire

Scouts should be familiar with the basics of electrical currents and fuses, with the ability to locate overloaded circuits and reset a circuit breaker. In the unfortunate situation that someone does come into contact with a live wire avoid touching the person and turn off the source of power if possible. Avoid contact with the live wire and call 911 if necessary. If the person is unresponsive, check their breathing and heartbeat. Perform CPR if it is needed and you are trained. Use cool water for burns.

Carbon Monoxide

We can’t see, smell or detect carbon monoxide, so we are dependent on prevention and familiarity with its effects to protect ourselves against it. According to ADT Security, carbon monoxide alarms should be located on every level of the home, especially outside bedrooms. They should be tested and serviced regularly. Dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea are signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect poisoning, make sure everyone leaves home and call 911. No one should return to the house until professionals have cleared it.

Clothes on Fire

If your clothes catch on fire, or if someone else’s clothes catch on fire, the reaction should be the same. Cover your face or instruct the affected person to cover their face, drop to the ground and roll back and forth to smother the flames. If rolling isn’t successful, try to use a blanket to extinguish the fire. Cold water, not ice, should be used on burns.


Drownings result in at least ten deaths per day, according to the CDC. Taking precautions before anyone ever gets into the water is the first defense against drowning. The swimming area should be safe from drowning hazards or dangerous water conditions. Children should always be carefully monitored in the water. Since drowning can happen so quickly, the adult supervising should never allow them to be distracted. Be sure that life jackets are worn when possible, and that supervising adults are CPR certified.

While accidents are scary, adequately preparing for them enables you to act quickly and possibly save someone’s life. It is important to know what to do ahead of time, because every second counts in an emergency.

If you or your son want to learn more about this and other emergency preparedness skills, consider joining Scouting today!

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