Education

Boost Your Emergency Preparedness With This Scouting Wisdom

Boost your emergency preparedness with the 20 mnemonics below. 

Wait! You don’t know what a mnemonic is? It’s a tool that helps us remember certain facts or large amounts of information. They can come in the form of a song, rhyme, acronym, image, phrase, or sentence.

Remember “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…”?

Mnemonics help us remember facts and are particularly useful when the order of things is important. 

1 – Treating shock

“Face is red, raise the head; face is pale, raise the tail.”

2 – Warning signs of a stroke

Think FAST:

Face – One side of smile droops.
Arms – Do they have equal strength?
Speech – Is it slurred?
Time – If you observe these, get them to a hospital quick.

3 – Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia

“Hot and dry, sugar high; cold and clammy, need some candy.”

4 – Dehydration

If you’re drinking enough water, your urine should be “Clear and Copious.”

5 – Poisonous plants

“Leaves of three, let it be.” Also, for the non-leafed seasons of the year, “Don’t touch the hairy vines!”

6 – Treating diarrhea

Switch to the BRAT or BRATTY diet:

Banana
Rice
Applesauce
Toast

Some like to add T and Y to get BRATTY:
Tea
Yogurt

7 – Using a fire extinguisher

Cool things off with the PASS technique:

Pull the pin
Aim at the base of the fire
Squeeze the trigger
Sweep across the fire

8 – Proper winter camping attire

Stay warm, but not too warm, by getting COLD:

Clean – dirty clothes lose their loft and get you cold.
Overheat – never get sweaty; strip off layers to stay warm but not too hot.
Layers – dress in synthetic layers for easy temperature control.
Dry – wet clothes (and sleeping bags) also lose their insulation.

9 – Diagnosing hypothermia

Look for the “umble” family. Does the person fumble, mumble, stumble, and grumble?

10 – Identifying poisonous snakes

Looking at the color of bands works for some varieties of snakes. Remember “red on yellow, kill a fellow; red on black, friend of Jack.”

12 – When you’re on fire

Just as we learned as kids: “stop, drop, and roll.”

13 – The ABCs of CPR

ABC in its original form stood for “Airway, Breathing, Circulation.”

Nearly all groups still use ABC in some form, but others add D for defibrillation using an AED.

14 – Determining a person’s medical history

This one is usually for the pros, but when interviewing a patient, take a SAMPLE:

Signs and Symptoms
Allergies
Medications
Past medical history
Last oral intake
Events leading up to the injury and/or illness

15 – Signs of a fracture

Think SLIPDUCT:

Swelling
Loss of function
Irregularities on the bone surface, such as depressions or lumps
Pain
Deformity
Unnatural movement
Crepitus, a sound similar to scrunching a bag of frozen peas heard/felt when the two ends of a broken bone grate together
Tenderness

16 – Saving someone from drowning

“Reach, throw, row, go.” But others suggest starting with “talk.” “Always try to talk them back first.”

17 – Conditions that could cause unconsciousness

They’re summarized in the longest mnemonic of the article: FISH SHAPED.

Faint
Infantile convulsions
Shock
Head injury
Stroke
Heart attack
Anaphylaxis
Poisoning
Epilepsy
Diabetes

19 – How to treat a sprained ankle or other body part

Remember RICE.

Rest the injured area. Ice the sprain. Compress with wrap or bandage. Elevate the injured area.

20 – An essential rule of camping

“Dark sky at night, you’re up too late; Dark sky in the morning, you are up too early.”

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