Monday, July 10, 2017

Girl Scouts Earn Preparedness Merit Badges: Troops from across NYC Receive Training, Education from FEMA and American Red Cross

Photo Credit: Steven Thorne/American Red Cross

by Jessica Kirk

NEW YORK, NY -- Girl Scouts from across New York City and the surrounding region gathered on Saturday, June 17 at the FEMA Region II office at One World Trade Center for Girl Scouts Day 2017: Girl Scout today, Emergency Manager Tomorrow, hosted by FEMA Region II and the American Red Cross. The rationale was to help the Scouts learn about Disaster Preparedness, providing them the knowledge they need to earn a Girl Scouts badge and an honorary FEMA badge.

Photo credit: Steven Thorne/American Red Cross
Photo Credit: Steven Thorne/American Red Cross
From the youngest Daisies and Brownies to Juniors and Seniors, each Scout learned how to implement basic measures, including which items to include in a Go-Kit and the importance of accurate information dissemination before, during, and following a disaster. From pet preparedness and flooding to Mitigation techniques and fire safety, there was a lot to learn.

Jennifer Ramirez, Red Cross Corps member, taught Scouts the correct way to identify if fire exists on the other side of a door: by using the back of the hand on the doorknob. She also discussed what to do if you cannot leave the room you are in, what to use to block smoke from getting in beneath the door, and how to gain the attention of the fire department from inside a window. Ramirez also spent time instructing Scouts how to calm themselves when anxious by taking deep breaths.

Joe Lenz, also a member of the Red Cross Corps, asked Scouts, "Why do we use a pillowcase for our go bag?"

Photo Credit: Steven Thorne/American Red Cross
"It's like Santa's pack!" said one Scout.

"Yes, it's very light and thin, and easy for you to carry over your shoulder." Joe went on to teach the Scouts about preparing to be safe. He said, "We're entrusting you to be part of The Pillowcase Project family."

Which items are included in the pillowcase? Food, water, a flashlight, medicine, and important documents. Ramirez and Lenz also encouraged the Scouts to speak with their parents/guardians about getting the bags ready.

First Aid instructors, also from the Red Cross, taught the Scouts when to call 911, and what information to provide. Scouts also learned: which items to include in a First Aid kit, how to speak with their families about establishing a fire plan, including choosing a neighborhood evacuation place to meet after the home is evacuated.

Commencement included participating in a song and dance to reinforce what was learned throughout the day and how to be prepared. All attendees participated in the official Girl Scout Promise to practice disaster safety and First Aid. Each Scout earned a special disaster readiness badge and agreed to spread the word among their friends and communities.

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