Being [Emergency] Prepared – Brownie Style!

Cadence, 100th Ottawa Brownie Unit. Photo: T. Woolridge

Cadence, 100th Ottawa Brownie Unit. Photo: T. Woolridge

As a Guider, we have the opportunity to teach girls skills that they will use their entire lives and ones that may even save a life.  Earlier this month, I worked with my Brownie Unit on their Emergency Preparedness Challenge badge, and was able incorporate these types of important lessons.

Because I know how handy it is to find meeting plans that have already been tested, I thought I’d share our meeting plan:

Arrival Time Activity: Often I grab a whack of books from the library on the subject or theme of our meeting.  I didn’t have a chance to get there before the Emergency Preparedness Meeting but there are lots of good books about weather, natural disasters that would make a great opening activity.  Instead I brought a few colouring pages from a Disaster Preparedness Colouring book.

Research shows that discussing what to do in different scenarios will make actual situations less stressful and save time during an emergency so we chose the next few activities with that in mind.

Activity 2: Once everyone had arrived, we gathered in our circle and asked the girls if they could give us examples of emergencies.  We then asked if anyone knew how to call 9-1-1 and if they could give us examples of a “right time” and “wrong time” to call.  We used this exercise to help get the conversation going and then used an activity sheet from the Canadian Red Cross to have them pretend to be on a call with a 9-1-1 operator (page 20).

I liked this activity because the girls talked a lot about how to do it and what information they would give the operator (hopefully it’s never needed but if it is, I think the girls would be able to make that call).

Game: I found a game from the Scouts Canada website called “Is it an Emergency?” (download file called Emergency Preparedness Week 1) This was a great activity because it was an active game and so it got the girls running from one end of our meeting area to the other.  To set up the game, leaders designate one area as the “non-emergency area” and then another as the “emergency area.”

I took the suggestion of placing my son’s big toy fire truck and ambulance in the area called the “emergency area”, which I think provided a strong visual association for the girls. When they thought about the emergency situations, they also thought about who would come to help. We then used the activity sheet to call out emergency and non-emergency situation.

The objective of the game is help kids learn what an emergency situation is and what it isn’t but some of the girls used their imaginations and expanded on the scenarios given J

One of the non-emergency examples given was a kite stuck in a tree.  One of the girls said that it WAS an emergency because perhaps the kite was also touching an electrical wire and then when you reached for the kite you would get electrocuted, so don’t touch it (yes, good point!).

Another example was a train derailment. One girl said it WAS NOT an emergency because she didn’t live near the train tracks and she doesn’t travel on a train (true, but I explained why it was considered in an emergency for others). Another scenario was when someone’s glasses break, which one girl said WAS an emergency because if the person couldn’t see without their glasses they may walk into something dangerous (yes, I guess that could happen).

Honestly, I loved that they put that much thought into analyzing the scenarios.

Story: We used one from the Scouts program called Severe Thunderstorm” Act-It-Out Story.  I chose this one because it told the story about a situation that they could all relate to and led nicely into the next activity that allowed them to apply what they had learned.

Activity 3: We then did the “how to behave in case of a lightning storm” activity from the Canadian Red Cross (page 6). One of the girls asked why you are supposed to crouch down into a leap-frog position if you get stranded outside during a lightning storm.  Good question! The answer is to minimize your points of contact with the ground.

Activity for another meeting: We had planned to review the contents of an emergency kit and explain to the girls why it’s important to have one in their home; why it’s important to know where their parents keep it; and to know what goes in it in case they have to use it (like a battery-operated radio or first aid kit) but we ran out of time.  You can find a list of items that can go in a kit and then afterwards ask the girls to do an Elmer the Safety Elephant Emergency Kit Activity Sheet.

Across Canada, we face a number of natural hazards, which can vary from region to region. If you are interested in finding out more about risks specific to where you live, like Hurricanes in the East and Earthquakes in the West, check out the Know the Risks Section of

By guest blogger Theresa Woolridge. Theresa is a Guider with the 100th Ottawa Brownie Unit. Disclosure by Theresa: I work for Public Safety Canada and during the month of May, we are asking Canadians to set aside some time to prepare themselves and their families for an emergency situation.


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5 Responses to Being [Emergency] Prepared – Brownie Style!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for this blog, lots of excellent information and wham you have provided me with a few weeks of programming, thanks again.

  2. I thought I recognised Cadence’s photo on the GGC post on my wall! And sure enough it was! The meeting sounds great. Care to do it next year for the 36th Ottawa Brownies?? We haven’t done the emergency preparedness badge yet but really should.

  3. Pingback: Be Prepared: Emergency Preparedness Challenge Badge « Brownie Meeting Ideas

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