Be prepared with this emergency preparedness kit

cubcast-logoWe say our motto is Be Prepared, but how prepared are you and your Scouts for a serious emergency?

I’m talking tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, pandemics or terrorist attacks.

September is National Preparedness Month, so the timing’s right for you to consider your readiness.

CubCast is here to help.

In the September 2014 CubCast, Health and Safety guru Richard Bourlon shares what should go into a basic emergency preparedness kit and other ways to make sure your unit is prepared for the worst.

Also of note is that for the first time, CubCast is making available its transcript. That’s great news for Scouters who are deaf or have partial hearing loss — plus for those who are at work where they can’t listen to a podcast. Find the transcript at the end of this post.

First, though, read what should go into an emergency preparedness kit:

Emergency preparedness kit

Here’s what Richard suggests you include in a basic kit

  • Water — typically one gallon of water per person in your group per day. Richard says you really want to think about this as a 72-hour kit, so have three days of supplies. That means if you have 20 Scouts and Scouters in your unit, you’ll want 60 gallons.
  • Food — Nonperishable and enough for three days
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank weather radio
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Signaling device, such as a whistle
  • Dust mask for everybody in your group
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Moist towlettes
  • Garbage bags
  • Wrench or other tools
  • Can-opener (if your nonperishable food is in cans)
  • Solar charger to power your cellphone in an emergency

How to talk to your kids and Scouts

Richard offers this sound advice:

I want everybody to know that they need to have the conversation with their kids, and it doesn’t have to be real hard, but, make sure their kids know who to call in an emergency, where to meet up. It’s September, your child may be at a school. Do they know where to meet you if something is happening in the community?

I’m a big fan of the Go Kit, having a backpack ready that you can just pick up and evacuate with. I always say: what do you have packed, where are we going to meet, and who are you going to call?

Emergency Preparedness Award

emergency preparednessUnits and individuals in Scouting who demonstrate their emergency preparedness are eligible for an award.

The award was just updated this month to make units eligible to earn the award as a unit — previously only individuals could earn the award.

Go here for details, requirements and an award application.

Where to find more information

Richard suggests going to, which features the government’s best tips to keep Americans safe.

Listen to the September 2014 CubCast

Go here to listen to or download the September 2014 CubCast.

September 2014 CubCast transcript

Read the transcript of the September 2014 CubCast below.


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JANET:           Welcome, everyone, to the September 2014 Cubcast.  Last month we said goodbye to my co-host Sam Thompson, so now I’m please to introduce my new Cubcast co-host. Until recently, he was the Team Leader of Learning Delivery for Scouting University. He recently accepted the position of Area Director for Area 5 of the Central Region.   He is also my partner for better or worse, ladies and gentlemen, Mark Griffin.


(SFX – Applause)


MARK:            Thanks, Janet.  I’m excited to be here. I’ve been a big fan of Cubcast and it’s going to be great working with you.   OK – I’m ready!  What will my first Cubcast topic be?


JANET:           September is Emergency Preparedness month and Cubcast wants to know – are you prepared?  Richard Bourlon will be here to share with us everything we need to know.


MARK:          Sounds like this will be an interesting show. Let’s get it started.


Music Fades


MARK:            Joining us for this episode is the team lead of the Health and Safety Service Team of the BSA National Council Richard Bourlon.  Back in March of 2011, Richard shared with us everything we needed to know about scouting safely and we’re glad to have him back.  Welcome to CubCast, Richard.


RICHARD:     Thanks Mark, thanks Janet.


MARK:            So, Richard, what are the basics of emergency preparedness?


RICHARD:     In really simple terms it’s make a plan, build an emergency kit…


MARK:            What are some of the basics that should go in an emergency preparedness kit?


RICHARD:     Your basic kit is going to have some water in it, and typically that’s one gallon of water per person in your group per day, and you really want to think about this as a 72-hour kit, so have three days of supplies.  Also, food, make sure that’s non-perishable; it doesn’t have to be refrigerated.  It’d be great if you had a battery powered, or maybe even one of these hand-crank radios, or a NOAH weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, your first aid kit.  It’s usually suggested you have some kind of signaling devise so like a whistle to signal for help.  You may want to include like a dust mask for everybody in your group, and some plastic sheeting if it’s a shelter in place situation or if there’s a lot of dust or smoke in the air.  Something to clean up with, so maybe some moist towelettes, garbage bags, probably want to have some kind of wrench or some tools maybe that you could turn off the gas or the water to your home. If you’ve got that food that’s non-perishable in cans, make sure you bring a can opener and put that in the top of your kit as well.  I think everybody lives with cellphones these days, but, your cellphones only good if you can charge it.  So a solar charger or some kind of power converter so you can keep your cellphone charged in case of an emergency.  That’s a good basic kit.


MARK:            Janet and I, grew up in hurricane country in the panhandle of Florida and we used to always say it was great to have a Boy Scout at home because we always had that emergency kit


RICHARD:     From a scouting perspective and what would recommend to us, it’s also get involved in your community so that you know what’s going to happen in your community and you can be prepared for that if disaster strikes.


JANET:           People associate first aid skills with scouting, but how is emergency preparedness different?


RICHARD:     Janet, the difference is first aid is one of those skills that’s core to the scouting movement, but it’s just that. Having those first aid skills is part of being prepared.  Emergency preparedness is really about having a complete plan of how you’re going to react in the event of one of those emergencies that may strike you like a fire in your neighborhood or where you’re camping, or it could just be if you live down on the Golf Coast, for instance, a hurricane that could come through.  What we’re really trying to preach with our emergency preparedness focus is to make sure to have that conversation; parents having that conversation with their kids, or some of our older scouts maybe it’s the scouts having that conversation with their parents to be prepared before disaster strikes.


MARK:            How can units be involved in emergency preparedness?


RICHARD:     Mark, that’s a great question.  We have had an emergency preparedness award since about 2003.  Here in September of 2014, we’re rolling out an emergency preparedness award that includes a component for units as a unit to earn an enhanced award based on the actions of the entire unit.  So it’s not just an individual award; we want them to get extra training, we want them to do things as a unit where they need to be prepared for disaster in their meeting location.


JANET:           Richard, you mentioned awards. Cub Scouts love awards.  What awards are available for emergency awareness and who would be eligible?


RICHARD      The good news is that Tiger Cubs on up are eligible for an Individual Emergency Preparedness Award. We’ve revamped those requirements and they’re age appropriate, and it’s not that hard to get.  So as a Tiger Cub, it might be just to discuss an emergency plan with your family and know how to do a family fire drill in your home. In the Cub Scout ranks, for instance, if you’re a Bear, maybe you create a plan and practice summoning help during an emergency, how to dial 9-1-1 and work on that with your parents, all the way up to our Webelos who we want to actually build a family emergency kit and have that ready.


MARK:            Are there other ways that parents and families can get involved?


RICHARD:     Like anything we do in Cub Scouting, the parents and the family are integral to the award, but one of the things that we’re really excited about with the revisions to the Emergency Preparedness Award is that it’ll let unit volunteers, if those parents were signed up, to actually earn their own awards and to work with their unit so that the entire unit could earn an Enhanced Gold, Silver or Bronze Award.  For parents, we’ve taken it a little further.  We want to encourage parents to take basic first aid, CPR, and AD courses.  We also want parents in our units and volunteers to take advantage of some of the free training that FEMA offers online, like introduction to the Incident Command System, so that they can be prepared to work with emergency services, or at least understand the system that is in place across America.


JANET:           What about resources that might be available to help with emergency preparedness?


RICHARD      We took a good look at what we had as resources and in 2003 worked with the Department of Homeland Security to gather some of those and we actually published some of those in-house.  Two current in-house publications that I’d suggest, even to our Cub Scout parents, would be our emergency preparedness and our first aid merit badge pamphlets.  Those are great resources available in the Scout Shop.  But probably the best resource for emergency preparedness right now is  So anybody can get there,, and that has excellent resources for building your kit, for making your plan, how to be informed and get involved in your community, and they actually have a really great section for working with your kids; games, and things that parents can use or unit leaders can use to help prepare the entire nation.


MARK:            Richard, do you think there’s anything else that our listeners should know about the emergency preparedness that we haven’t talked about already?


RICHARD:     I really encourage folks to get on and since September is emergency preparedness month, I want everybody to know that they need to have the conversation with their kids, and it doesn’t have to be realhard, but, make sure their kids know who to call in an emergency, where to meet up.  It’s September, your child may be at a school.  Do they know where to meet you if something is happening in the community? I’m a big fan of the Go Kit, having a backpack ready that you can just pick up and evacuate with.  I always say: what do you have packed, where are we going to meet, and who you going to call?  I’d leave that with you, Mark.


JANET:           You know, we try to make CubCast fun, but also informative, and emergency preparedness is such an important topic.  Richard, thanks for coming on the show and helping us to be prepared.


RICHARD:     Alright, thanks and we look forward to a lot of people earning those new awards.


MARK:            Thank you, Richard.  We’ll be right back with timely reminders right after this.


(Cyber Chip commercial)


MARK:            Okay, folks, here we go with this month’s reminders.  Janet, take it away.


JANET:           Your pack school or round up should be held soon if you haven’t already done so and don’t forget to submit all new youths and adult applications and registration fees to the council service center.  That’s right, folks, you have to turn in the money.


MARK:            Remember, for every adult wanting to join scouting, youth protection training is a requirement within 30 days of submitting an application. If you can’t attend a council instructor-led training session and if your state allows it, you can take the training online.


JANET:           Absolutely anyone, especially parents and potential leaders can take the online training by creating a MyScouting account. Just go to and click the MyScouting tab at the top of the page.



MARK:            Now, this is an ongoing piece of business.  Remember to turn in your advancement reports every month. The report goes to the pack committee’s advancement chairperson who submits the report to the council service center.


JANET:           It’s very important that you turn in advancement reports so that the boys receive advancement credit in a timely way.  You should be doing this every month and presenting advancement awards at the monthly pack meeting.


MARK:            Finally, we all know your Cub Scouts love the Pinewood Derby, Space Derby, and Rain Gutter Regatta, and now is the time to begin planning those events, not next month, not next week, now.


JANET:           It’s also a good time to start the ball rolling on the Blue and Gold Banquet, which occurs in February.  Sure, that seems like a long time from now, but we all know how time zips by and the sooner you plan for these events the better they are and the more the boys and their families will enjoy the occasion.  You can go back and download the December 2012 CubCast for some great ideas in how to hold a Blue and Gold.


Begin music under:


JANET            Well, as much fun as this has been, the music cue means the September CubCast has come to an end.  Thanks again to our guest, Richard Bourlon.


MARK:            Be sure to come back next month for a spirited discussion on using visual storytelling for recruiting and retention.

JANET:           If there are other topics you’d like to hear about or just want to let us know how we’re doing, send us an e-mail to or a tweet to @cubcast.  We’d love to hear from you.  I’m Janet Griffin —


MARK:            And I’m Mark Griffin.  Be safe out there.


Music Full Finish