Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Everyday emergencies

Learn how the basics of first aid can help you out and about on your adventures.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Scarves (such as neckers)
  • First aid kits
  • Scenario props, as needed

Before you begin

  • Find someone to lead this activity who’s an experienced first aider with a recognised qualification, such as that given by the British Red Cross or St John Ambulance.
  • Get together as many helpers, Young Leaders and other volunteers as you can to support this session. Larger groups may need five or six first aiders.

You might need to reach out to other groups if you can’t find enough qualified personnel to run this as a joint session, or a local training team. Scout partner the British Red Cross might be able to help on a local level too.

  • It’s probably best to run this activity across two sessions. In the first session, you should choose your scenarios and write them down in detail, so that there’s time to prepare to set the scene in a subsequent session.

Writing your scenarios (week 1)

  1. Explain that first you’ll be covering some scenarios and the basic first aid they might need. Have everyone split into groups and choose one activity or adventure from the selection, like road cycling.
  2. Each group should pick out one potential hazard associated with the activity. This could relate to poor planning and preparation, leading to an unfortunate accident. Try to figure out scenarios that cover these basic skills.

For example: ‘A rider in your group has switched off their front lights on a bike ride at night. They’ve lost their balance after cycling over a pothole, fallen and suffered a sprained wrist.’ Or: ‘A camper has tried to carry a heavy pan of boiling water and spilled some on their leg, causing a burn.’ Or: ‘A competitor in a District sports day starts to have an asthma attack.’ Or: ‘Your group finds a walker unconscious on a day hike in the countryside.’ Or: ‘One of your leaders is showing some symptoms of hypothermia at a winter camp.’

  1. Think about how you’ll mock up a scenario featuring this activity or adventure in the upcoming session where you’ll set the scene. Groups should consider the location of the incident, what the conditions are and what props they’ll need to make it seem real. Have one person write down this information. For instance, if you were using the ‘fallen cyclist at night’ scenario, you might set your scene in a darkened room with a fallen bicycle as an obstacle.
  2. Now try this for another scenario in another activity or adventure. See how many first aid skills you can cover in the time you have.
  3. Once everyone has had a go at a few different scenarios, they should hand in their suggestions to the person leading the activity.

Sharing scenarios with first aiders

  1. Suggestions should be shared with some qualified first aiders, either in person or by another secure means of communication used by the group.
  2. Individuals or groups of first aiders should champion a scenario and explain how they might run a scenario station to teach everyone how to respond to the incident, step-by-step. Each scenario will probably need a volunteer to play the injured person. Ideas for simulating the right conditions, like small spaces, dark places and bad weather, should also be discussed, as well as props and equipment.
  3. Make arrangements for anyone you’re inviting along for the first time. Make sure they know the best way to get to your meeting place, what time to arrive and what day the scene-setting session will be. Deal with any accessibility needs, such as reserving disabled parking spots and securing level building access.

Setting up your scenario stations (week 2)

  1. Introduce any guests to your meeting who’ll be imparting their first aid skills and thank them for their time.

Try to set up the stations in different parts of the meeting place. Make the most of other rooms and outdoor space that you’re able to access.

  1. Everyone should split into groups to tackle the scenario stations. You’ll need as many groups as you have scenario stations.
  2. Groups should move to their first station and begin to work their way around all of them.
    • Each station should keep them for about 15 minutes, in which time the scenario should be introduced in detail.
    • They should outline the ideal first responses as well as dos and don’ts, and then discuss the challenges of working in the relevant conditions.
    • There needs to be time for each group member to independently respond to the scenario and practise performing first aid.
  1. When each group has visited all of the stations, regroup somewhere so you can all come together. Think about how the scenarios dreamed up earlier have been brought to life and what measures could be put in place to help stop them happening in the first place.

Remember to say another big thank you to your first aiders!


First aid is a life-saving skill that anyone can learn. Safe Scouting depends on people with these skills, so that we can do as many activities and adventures as possible. Outside of Scouts, where else might your first aid skills come in handy? Learning something that could help anyone: a friend at school, a family member at home or a stranger in the street, is an incredibly selfless and noble thing to do.

Think more about the context of each scenario your first aiders set out. Everyone already had an opportunity to think about preventing, limiting and controlling the impact of accidents and incidents. How can we apply this thinking to other daily activities, like travelling to school or work, and going on holiday?


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


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Contact games and activities

Make sure everyone understands what contact is acceptable, and monitor contact throughout the activity.

If you’re lucky enough to already have some fantastic first aiders in your group, they could use this activity as a refresher session and take on some more challenging scenarios. Try to get an expert from the British Red Cross or St John Ambulance if your group is new to first aid, who can go into detail and spend more time on each simple scenario.

  • Make sure you cater for all of your visitors’ accessibility needs.
  • Anyone not comfortable making physical contact with others can demonstrate their understanding through peers or helpers using visual and verbal cues.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Take this one further by planning an ‘incident hike’. This is an excursion around the local area, where the group must complete challenges at bases set up along the way. First aid bases are a great fit for this activity, as you never know when something is going to happen when you’re out in the wild! Outdoor scenarios should jog everyone’s memory and they can demonstrate how much they took in from the ‘Everyday emergencies’ sessions.

Young first aiders should play an active role in running this activity, whether they’re leading it or running a scenario station.