First aid—caring for injured or ill persons until they can receive professional medical care—is an important skill for every Scout. With some knowledge of first aid, a Scout can provide immediate care and help to someone who is hurt or who becomes ill. First aid can help prevent infection and serious loss of blood. It could even save a limb or a life.


  1. Satisfy your counselor that you have current knowledge of all first-aid requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks.
  2. Do the following:
    1. Explain how you would obtain emergency medical assistance from your home, on a wilderness camping trip, and during an activity on open water.
    2. Explain the term triage.
    3. Explain the standard precautions as applied to bloodborne pathogens.
    4. Prepare a first-aid kit for your home. Display and discuss its contents with your counselor.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Explain what action you should take for someone who shows signals of shock, for someone who shows signals of a heart attack, and for someone who shows signals of stroke.
    2. Identify the conditions that must exist before performing CPR on a person. Then demonstrate proper technique in performing CPR using a training device approved by your counselor.
    3. Explain the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
    4. Show the steps that need to be taken for someone suffering from a severe cut on the leg and on the wrist. Tell the dangers in the use of a tourniquet and the conditions under which its use is justified.
    5. Explain when a bee sting could be life threatening and what action should be taken for prevention and for first aid.
    6. Explain the symptoms of heatstroke and what action should be taken for first aid and for prevention.
  4. Do the following:
    1. Describe the signals of a broken bone. Show first-aid procedures for handling fractures (broken bones), including open (compound) fractures of the forearm, wrist, upper leg, and lower leg using improvised materials.
    2. Describe the symptoms and possible complications and demonstrate proper procedures for treating suspected injuries to the head, neck, and back. Explain what measures should be taken to reduce the possibility of further complicating these injuries.
  5. Describe the symptoms, proper first-aid procedures, and possible prevention measures for the following conditions:
    1. Hypothermia
    2. Convulsions/seizures
    3. Frostbite
    4. Dehydration
    5. Bruises, strains, sprains
    6. Burns
    7. Abdominal pain
    8. Broken, chipped, or loosened tooth
    9. Knocked out tooth
    10. Muscle cramps
  6. Do TWO of the following:
    1. If a sick or an injured person must be moved, tell how you would determine the best method. Demonstrate this method.
    2. With helpers under your supervision, improvise a stretcher and move a presumably unconscious person.
    3. With your counselor's approval, arrange a visit with your patrol or troop to an emergency medical facility or through an American Red Cross chapter for a demonstration of how an AED is used.
  7. Teach another Scout a first-aid skill selected by your counselor.


Scouting Literature

Boy Scout Handbook and Fieldbook; Dentistry, Emergency Preparedness, Fire Safety, Lifesaving, Medicine, Public Health, Safety, and Wilderness Survival merit badge pamphlets


  • American College of Emergency Physicians First Aid Manual, 2nd ed. DK Publishing, 2003.
  • American Medical Association Handbook of First Aid and Emergency Care, revised ed. Random House, 2000.
  • Auerbach, Paul S. Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to Emergency Medical Procedures and First Aid. Lyons Press, 2003.
  • Backer, Howard, et al. Wilderness First Aid: Emergency Care for Remote Locations. Jones and Bartlett, 2005.
  • First Aid, 4th ed. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2005.
  • Forgey, William. Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid, 5th ed. Globe Pequot Press, 1999.
  • Gill, Paul G. Wilderness First Aid: A Pocket Guide. Ragged Mountain Press, 2002.
  • Isaac, Jeffrey. The Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook, revised ed. Lyons & Burford, 1998.
  • Rickey, Brad, and Kurt Duffens. FastAct Pocket First Aid Guide. FastAct, 1999.
  • Schimelpfenig, Todd, and Linda Lindsey. NOLS Wilderness First Aid, 3rd ed. National Outdoor Leadership School and Stackpole Books, 2000.
  • Tilton, Buck. Backcountry First Aid and Extended Care, 4th ed. Falcon, 2002.
  • Weiss, Eric A. Wilderness 911: A Step-by-Step Guide for Medical Emergencies and Improvised Care in the Backcountry. The Mountaineers Books, 1998.
  • Wilkerson, James A., ed. Medicine for Mountaineering and Other Wilderness Activities, 5th ed. The Mountaineers Books, 2001.