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If you cannot take a first aid course or cannot get a trained leader to help you, do not let that stop you from starting the Troop first aid program suggested in this chapter. Actually you will not need help if you will confine your instructions to Handbook for Boys and the numerous illustrations in the Scout Field Book.

First Class Scouts Will Help

It is easy to teach first aid and related subjects in new Troops. In Troops having Scouts of all ranks it is suggested that the Tenderfoot and Second Class Scouts be separated. In most Troops, Scouts practice Merit Badges work in groups largely by themselves, either in or out of regular Troop meetings. Call upon those advanced Scouts for help. The holders of the First Aid Merit Badge should be more than willing to help.

Secure Red Cross Aid

Check with your local Red Cross leaders. They have, or can help you secure, excellent moving pictures and charts for instruction purposes.

Two-Month Programs

No subject is more worthy of a two-month program than first aid. Two programs are suggested, one for new Troops, another for Troops having Scouts of all ranks.

Use Subject Matter in Handbook for Boys

Let the men who help conduct Boards of Review know that you are confining your intensive instruction to the first eight pages of the First Aid Chapter in Handbook for Boys for Second Class, and to the entire chapter for First Class.

First Month for New Troops

Throughout the month review and practice the instruction given at the first meeting related to artificial respiration, shock, fainting and arterial bleeding, and add Second Class subjects which may be grouped as follows: 

  1. common cuts and scratches; 
  2. bites of insects, chiggers and ticks; 
  3. burns and scalds; 
  4. blister on heel; 
  5. skin poisoning from poisonous plants; 
  6. objects in the eye; 
  7. sprained ankle. 

If you have no Second or First Class Scouts, you can assign those seven subjects to your more studious Tenderfoot Scouts, with the understanding that they will read and learn all they can about their assignments and present their subjects to the entire Troop. Also let them know that they will be called upon to demonstrate treatments on both themselves and others. Suggest that they practice on buddies and on themselves whenever possible before they demonstrate to the Troop. You will, of course, supplement the instruction of the Scouts when and if necessary.

Post Subjects and Dates

Assign the subjects mentioned above to different Scouts at the close of the first meeting and post their names and subjects and dates on the Troop bulletin board. Ask all who have assignments to attend the TLC following the Troop Meeting. Let the Scouts know that you will stick to the schedule, and that you will give them help if they ask for it.

First Month for Old Troops

Troops having Scouts of all ranks may use a plan very similar to the one for new Troops. The chief difference is that the Scouts meet in two groups, Tenderfoot and Second Class. First Class subjects follow: (1) Pain in abdomen; (2) internal poisoning; (3) sunstroke and heat exhaustion; (4) frost bite; (5) fractures; (6) transportation of injured. These may be covered in a month and assigned just as suggested for Second Class work.

Second Month Program

Every Troop should make its own program for the second month with emphasis on the review of first aid and such items as: (1) The five required First Class first aid problems; (2) assembling Troop, Patrol and home first aid kits; (3) dramatizations of first aid stories and problems; (4) discussion of physical fitness and practice; (5) Troop Meeting place inspection, using Form 6140, which may be secured from Local Council; (6) Troop fire drills, etc.

Personal First Aid

From the outset throughout your two-month program stress the idea of a Scout treating himself. Point out that when a boy injures himself he is always there at the scene of the accident, but a first aider may not be there. Call attention to the fact that any Scout who knows how to care for himself is prepared to help others. Suggest to your Scouts that during the two-month first aid training period they practice the following on themselves:

  1. What to do if you feel faint.
  2. Stop arterial bleeding of your arm and leg.
  3. Apply dressings and bandages for scratches and cuts on parts of your body which you can reach.
  4. Care for burns, scalds, objects in eye.
  5. Improvise a sling for a fractured arm.
  6. Provide support for sprains and strains.

Practicing at Home

To implement your words tell the Scouts what they might do at home to have some fun. For example, say something like this:

"You will read in your Handbook for Boys that when you feel faint you should bend over with your head between your legs and hold your arms tightly over your abdomen. Before you begin, stop to imagine you feel faint, then go ahead and do it. Do it when your mother or dad is looking. 'What are you doing?' they'll ask, and you'll tell them. Then ask them what they would do for you if you fainted. Maybe they'll hem and haw a little and that will be the time for you to read what the Handbook says they should do. Perhaps then they will think you're pretty good."

Making It Look Real

If you plan to make your first aid program the best possible, make your own "Make It Look Real" kit. If you cannot get a kit you certainly can get face powder, rouge, mercurochrome, purplish dye and makeup material from your local drug store.

Start First Aid Program With a Dramatization

If you have never tried dressing up a make-believe accident to look real, do so. You will set fire to the initial interest of your Scouts. Your first aid program will go over with a bang and your Troop will not soon forget it. Talk it over at a PLC after your leaders have read the following description of a robbery. Then help them plan an episode of their own to fit local conditions.

The Dramatization

A strange boy (previously coached) enters the Troop Meeting Room and rushes around, calling loudly, "Where's the Scoutmaster?" The Scoutmaster scolds the boy for his thoughtless intrusion and continues the meeting. The boy interrupts again, thrusts a note into the Scoutmaster's hand and exclaims, "Read that, it's terrible! One man's dead already!" The Scoutmaster reads to himself for a moment then rushes to the door to overtake the boy who is just leaving the room. The Scoutmaster then reads aloud, "Quick, bring Scouts and first aid equipment to back road off West street. Paymaster's car robbed, one man killed, three injured!"

The Scoutmaster details one Patrol or several Scouts to remain behind and gather first aid equipment, and the Troop follows the boy on the double.

Upon arriving at the automobile, there beside it, lies a supposedly dead man, his pockets inside out, (a made-up Troop Committeeman) The wounded driver (made-up) is slumped over the steering wheel. He tells the Troop in gasping whispers, to find the wounded paymaster who wandered into the woods with the wounded guard who accompanied him in pursuit of the robbers.

By this time the Scouts will recognize the Committeemen and discover that this is a ruse. The excitement should not be permitted to die down, so the Scoutmaster gives each Patrol an assignment, such as: (1) Track the wounded paymaster and guard; (2) treat the man at the steering wheel; (3) decide what to do about the dead man; (4) decide how and to whom the robbery should be reported.

With this dramatic introduction to first aid announce your two-month program and the date of the First Aid Demonstration for parents and friends. Challenge each Patrol to work out a dramatization in which they make up one or more victims and treat them in front of the visitors. Also suggest that each Patrol may have as many members as qualify to demonstrate personal first aid.

Forget Races

Although recreational quizzes have a place in first aid, races are out, first aid being the one subject in the Boy Scout Program which does not lend itself to games and races as a method of teaching and practicing activities. Instead of selecting winners let each Patrol select its "outstanding" individual, team or trio. Bring these "supers," as the boys call them, out in front of the Troop and let them demonstrate on a non-competitive basis.

"What is the objection to selecting champions and running races?" you may ask. A fair question! The answer is that they tend to excite participants who try to speed up action and to conceal their errors and inefficiencies, thus thrusting upon Scouts the hurry! hurry! idea. To a normal boy winning a game says hurry up, get the job done as quickly as possible - what you don't see won't hurt you. But in first aid a patient still conscious would say, "Take your time, son, do it the best way possible. It may take a little longer, I know, but remember, boy, a mistake by you could be disastrous to me."

Accident Stories

The Scout way of reviewing first aid by stirring the imagination of the Scouts is guaranteed to stimulate their thinking and arouse their interest. To accomplish this, the accident described must be the kind of accident liable to happen to them and not one too far removed from some of their personal experience, and the story-teller, of course must tell the story reasonably well.

Personalize the Story

Shall the story-teller tell the story of the accident in the first person? He certainly should. How else can he make it sound like a personal experience that he really saw happen? Finally, to make this first-hand information so convincing that his listeners will apply it to themselves, the story-teller should center it around Boy Scouts. A sample story follows:

"I'm going to tell you about an accident that happened to a Scout - suppose I call him Bill? Bill was on his way to an overnight camp with the Beaver Patrol and I happened to be along. I'm not going to tell all of the story. I'm going to leave Bill in a very tight spot and stop there. Then the Patrols will meet and you will all have an opportunity to tell what you think should have been done to get Bill out of this spot.

"At the corner of ... and . . . Streets we all got off the bus. The bus was just starting up again when suddenly - no warning - Bill dashes across in front of it. He had plenty of time to get across, but I guess the Pack on his back was heavy and when he saw the bus coming directly upon him from the other direction he lost his nerve and stopped. Both drivers saw him and jammed on their brakes. We all gasped when we heard the brakes of the big bus screech and saw it skid. Then some of the passengers and some of the Scouts screamed and the next thing we were all in a panic, staring at our Bill in an upright position jammed between those two buses. Fortunately, the pack on his back formed a cushion, and believe me, he needed one. To make it worse I could see passengers on both buses rush to the side toward poor Bill to get a better view of him.

"When we asked him how he was he could just about whisper, 'I don't know, get me out of here.' A minute or so later when one of the boys called his name he didn't answer.

"Naturally you're all wondering what we did for him but I'm not going to tell you now. Instead Patrols will meet and tell us what we should have done, first, second, third, etc., and also how we should have gotten him out, because the drivers would not move their buses for fear of killing him. Remember we were way out in the country and had only our camping equipment, including the Patrol first aid kit."

Before sending the Patrols to their corners tell the Patrol Leaders to give every member in turn a chance to tell one thing to do - and only one thing - the first time around. Then discuss the entire case and let the Scribe write the report at home and read it at the next Troop Meeting. If you do that, the Scouts will think and talk about the accident for a week and the Patrol Leader may study his Handbook with the idea of helping his Patrol present a better report.


Here are some of the things the Scouts may not include in their reports: One of the first things the Scoutmaster might have done was to ask the bus drivers to tell the people to remain in the buses on the side opposite Bill to take the weight off of him.

To get as many jacks as needed from the numerous cars gathered at the scene of the accident to jack the bodies of the buses apart (from above and below) just enough to free Bill. Then have a Scout climb down from the top of one of the buses and put a bowline under Bill's armpits, give him a boost and haul him to the roof. Let him remain there and treat hint for shock. When the ambulance arrives slide him from the roof of the bus into the ambulance, using two stretchers, if necessary.

Additional Story Subjects

While on a Patrol hike in a distant unfamiliar territory a Scout is attacked by a swarm of bees. Frantically he rushes to the edge of a nearby quarry Thinking it is deep, he jumps into a pool of shallow water and is injured (possibly a fracture). All sides of the quarry are nearly perpendicular. The Scouts have a Patrol first aid kit but only one piece of rope not quite long enough to reach the bottom of the quarry. What shall they do?

Scouts are serving as ushers at a big college football game. A grandstand collapses and while one of the Scouts is attempting to rescue a woman, another Scout pulls out a key plank and the grandstand falls upon their buddy. What to do?

While on a hike Scouts seek shelter during a blizzard in a deserted cabin. As they enter it they find a tramp without an overcoat, lying unconscious in front of the fireplace. The fire is out, the temperature below freezing. What shall they do?

Boy Scout Games






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Meeting Room Safety ] First Aid Dramatizations ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.