Skip to main content

Ready to respond - take action!

Help prepare your community to cope with an emergency.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Big pieces of paper
  • Sticky tack
  • Tablet or smartphone with the Red Cross Emergency app ( installed
  • Grab bag template
  • Ready to respond blog
  • Emergencies in our community sheet
  • Project ideas sheet
Event planning checklist
PDF – 184.7KB
Grab bag template
PDF – 126.0KB
Ready to respond blog
PDF – 89.6KB
Emergencies in our community
PDF – 83.1KB
Project ideas
PDF – 103.1KB

Before you begin

  • Decide whether you’ll use the ‘Grab bag template’ sheet, or just get people to draw their own bag on plain paper.
  • If you’ve got access to a device, download the Red Cross Emergency app. It doesn’t need internet once you’ve downloaded it. Don’t worry if you can’t do this – it’s optional and you’ll be fine without.

Put yourself in their shoes

  1. The person leading the activity should read the ‘Doncaster flood story’. When Doncaster flooded in 2019, the British Red Cross helped people.
  2. Everyone should chat about what the British Red Cross did to support people. How did it help them? They should also think about what could’ve been done to prepare for the flood, and how Scouts like them could’ve supported the emergency.

What would you do?

  1. Everyone should imagine a flood’s happened in their local area. It’s closed roads, so they’re stuck where they are without basics like electricity and water.
  2. The person leading the activity should explain that the British Red Cross recommends that people prepare a ‘grab bag’ so it’s always there in case they needed it. A grab bag has supplies and information people may need if they become stranded.
  3. Everyone should use the ‘Grab bag template’ sheet (or just draw their own) to list all of the things they’d include. It’s up to them whether they design a grab bag for their home or their car.
  1. Everyone should come back together and share their lists. Will all of their ideas fit in the bag? Which items are the most essential? If they were evacuated to a rest centre, what would they want in their bag?
  2. The person leading the activity should help everyone think about when grab bags are useful. Are there any situations where they wouldn’t be right? In some emergencies, such as a house fire, it’s more important to act fast and just get out.
  3. Everyone should think about how they could encourage other people to create a grab bag
  4. Everyone should split into groups.
  5. The person leading the activity should give each group a copy of the ‘Emergencies in our community’ sheet. Each group should put the emergencies in order depending on how likely they are to affect them. For example, if they live near a river, a flood may be nearer the top of their list.
  1. Everyone should decide what they’d do before, during, and after the emergency at the top of their list.

Plan a project

  1. Everyone should decide whether their project will help their meeting place, family and friends, or whole community prepare for the most likely emergency.
  2. Everyone should decide what to do – they could use the ‘Project ideas’ sheet for inspiration.
  3. Everyone should think about what they need to organise to make their project happen. Maybe they need to find a venue and plan activities for an event, or create lots of content to schedule for a social media campaign.
  4. Everyone should use the ‘Event planning checklist’ to make sure they’ve thought of everything. Even if they’re not planning on running an event, it may remind them of important things like risk assessments.
  5. Everyone should let the Red Cross know what they’re planning by emailing

Run the project

  1. Once they’re ready, everyone should start their project and follow their plan to make it a success.
  2. When their project’s finished, everyone should take time to say thank you to any helpers and reflect on the difference they’ve made. Do they want to share the news, for example, on their social media or through local newspapers?


This activity helps contribute towards some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the SDGs, and how Scouts across the world are getting involved, here.


This activity was all about caring for other people. How do people think it feels to be caught up in an emergency? What can people do to prepare for emergencies? What can others do to help in emergencies – can people’s actions make a difference? How does the British Red Cross help people in emergencies? How do you think the Red Cross’ help makes people feel?

This activity was also a chance for people to help their community. Who did everyone help through their project? There may have been a specific group, or they may have helped lots of people. What difference did their project make? What did people give to others through their project? It may have been knowledge, skills, or information. What else could people do to build on the success of their event?


Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, the Net Aware website has information and safety tips for apps.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.

Outdoor activities

You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.

Road safety

Manage groups carefully when near or on roads. Consider adult supervision and additional equipment (such as lights and high visibility clothing) in your risk assessment.

All activities must be safely managed. 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.