Scoutmaster Musings - Fun First Aid

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Scoutmaster Musings

Fun First Aid
Making a personal first aid kit is a 2nd Class rank requirement that can be a fun activity. Every year, I show scouts that I have my kit and tell them I take it with me everywhere. I also give each of them a CPR mask and gloves from the Red Cross to start their kit.
This little kit is the basis for an extremely valuable part of Scouting - that of being prepared for medical emergencies as well as small injuries.
It's fortunate that I do take my little kit with me, even on family vacations. Last week, we used many bandaids for scrapes and scratches on the beach and around town.

But, that little kit is really just for the simple cuts and scrapes. When something bigger happens, you need to rely more on your ability to improvise with what is on hand and know the basic First Aid Response steps for various situations.

The basic skills introduced in the early ranks are built on in various merit badges, such as First Aid, Emergency Prep, and Lifesaving. Additional training available to scouts for Babysitting, CPR, and Wilderness First Aid expand on skills that ready a person for many situations. We really do need this sort of training to help ensure a safe scouting program, but it can get boring if not applicable to the scout. Making it relevant through examples, stories, and hands-on experience is crucial. I'm always looking for new examples, preferably not my own.

While playing in the waves in Brazil, my wife was unceremoniously smashed into the sandy bottom by a very impressive reminder of the power of nature. She came up with blood on her forehead and her hand on her neck, complaining that it hurt.
OK, right now, if you have some first aid training, you're probably thinking 'immobilize!' The problem was that those waves weren't just stopping until we could casually stroll on up the beach. They continued to knock her around, so getting her out of the water fast was the first task. Once we were in a safe spot, then we tended to her neck.
Turns out she just tweaked the neck muscles and the forehead was just skin scraped away. But, it was a good lesson that first aid can't happen until the scene is safe.

When I'm presenting WFAB sessions or doing first aid with scouts, it's more fun and interesting to stage scenarios. I could say, "Pretend this is a cut and show me how to treat it." Or, I could get a package of ketchup from Arby's and my pocketknife and pretend to be cut. Or, even make some easy fake wounds to use often.

Making the serious skills fun to learn is the trick. Maybe "Build it and they will come" could be "Make it fun and they will learn". This is what the Instructors in our troop hear from me over and over, through my words, and hopefully through my example when I'm doing the teaching.

Scout On
Posted: 22:16 01-08-2009 388
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