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Be an emergency aider: extreme temperatures

Becoming too hot or too cold can quickly turn into a first aid emergency. What can you do to help?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Tables
  • First aid supplies (including blankets, a silver blanket, a fan, and water)

Before you begin

  • Make sure the person leading the activity knows about first aid. Someone from your group or local area with a first aid certificate could take charge, or you could reach out to places that help provide first aid training or support, for example, St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross.
  • You’ll need enough leaders for the activity, including enough people who are happy to demonstrate first aid techniques.
  • Adults should only demonstrate and practise first aid on other adults; young people should only demonstrate and practise first aid on other young people. Adults and young people should never demonstrate or practise first aid on each other.
  • This activity has four bases – if you’re short on space, have two bases (one for heat and one for cold).
  • Divide the room into four bases and place a table in each area. Each table should represent a condition that is a result of being too hot and cold including; hypothermia, frost bite, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration, but pair up heat stroke and heat exhaustion to create four topic areas.
  • Print out the information from each of the accordions below and place it and the relevant equipment for each condition on separate tables

Explain the bases

  1. Explain to everyone that this activity’s all about the effects of hot and cold. Everyone should think of conditions that happen when someone gets too hot or cold. Help everyone name hypothermia, frostbite, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration if needed.
  2. Everyone should split into four groups.
  3. Each group should go to a different base and get stuck in. After about 10 or 15 minutes, the person leading the activity should make a signal and everyone should move to the next base.
  1. Everyone should continue to move to the next base every 10 to 15 minutes, until they’ve visited all of the bases.


This activity was all about being responsible. People learned how heat and cold affect the body. Does anyone think knowing this will help them to recognise warning signs in themselves and others? Why may it be helpful for people to be aware of their bodies and how they’re responding? People could think about how they could begin to help themselves or others sooner, before conditions develop or get worse.

People also developed skills in this activity. What did they learn about spotting symptoms? People right remember that there was sometimes overlap in symptoms, because the body was trying to deal with similar circumstances. Can anyone think of other situations where they may need to deal with a body’s reaction? People could think about shock, when it could happen, and what they’d do. When might people put their emergency aid skills to use? People could think about where heat exhaustion or hypothermia may be most likely – they’re not everyday problems, but they may crop up on holidays, day trips, or even enjoying the local park in the summer.


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.