Big winter storm incoming? Don’t get caught in the cold.
In an effort to help you Be Prepared, I thought I’d share five merit badge books to help you get through this winter storm — and the next one, too.
5. Snow Sports
Most Scouts earn Snow Sports merit badge so they can have fun in the snow doing things like snowboarding and downhill and cross-country skiing.
But the Snow Sports book has the most comprehensive winter safety section of any merit badge out there.
Consult pages 10 to 23 to learn about treating injuries and how to dress properly for cold weather: “cotton clothing and blue jeans are not recommended.”
And if you do get a chance to test out those cross-country skis after the blizzard, Snow Sports has you covered there, too.
4. Search and Rescue
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.
If a loved one gets lost during the winter storm, the new Search and Rescue merit badge offers critical skills needed to find and rescue that person.
Check out pages 65 to 71 for search tactics like “confinement, an effort to establish a search perimeter that encompasses the subject and beyond which he or she is unlikely to pass without being detected” and probability of area (POA), used “to decide where the subject is most likely to be and search those areas.”
3. Automotive Maintenance
The best winter-weather driving tip: Don’t drive at all.
But if you must brave the icy, snow-covered roads, Automotive Maintenance merit badge keeps you running with some general car-care suggestions.
Pages 72 and 73 teaches how to jump-start a car (start by clamping the red cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery).
Pages 16 and 17 offer suggestions for weekly and monthly car maintenance.
2. First Aid
Being stranded outside in sub-freezing temperatures could mean hypothermia and frostbite.
That makes the Eagle-required First Aid merit badge — specifically pages 51 to 53 — a must-read.
It shares the steps for warming the hypothermia victim, starting with having the person drink warm liquids (no caffeine or alcohol) and removing the person’s wet clothing.
Frostbite is covered, too: “Rewarm the area only if there is no chance of refreezing.”
1. Wilderness Survival
The most obvious merit badge pamphlet on the list, Wilderness Survival, could be the most important.
Consult pages 27 and 28 for instructions on how to build four different types of snow shelters: tree pit, snow pit, snow trench and snow cave.
Hopefully you won’t be far from your home’s heater or fireplace during the winter storm, but at least you’ll be ready if you do find yourself in need of emergency shelter. As Scouts who earn Wilderness Survival merit badge learn, snow can be a great insulator if you know what you’re doing.