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Virtual emergency preparedness drill

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This forum has been tremendous help in my position as merit badge counselor. Thank you. 

Our troop has many boys, including my son, who need to complete requirement 7 of the Emergency preparedness merit badge.  We had a troop drill scheduled in March with another mbc that was canceled by covid. 

I'm a brand new emergency preparedness mbc trying to help the kids finish (along with about 20 other badges). As a voluntold merit badge coordinator over the last year, I have begged the other parents to step up and become MBCs, but none have. It's just the rapidly shrinking core of Life and Eagle parents. 

So, I need to come up with a way for the kids to do a virtual drill over zoom, and I have no idea what I'm doing. Do any more experienced mbcs have any ideas, please? Thanks 

Edited by GeorgiaMom
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LoL, my buddy (along with four generations of clinical epidemiologists/virologists) has trained is whole life for this current train wreck. Most of that was distance communications — elevated to high priority in the Bush era.

About a year ago, my family played the cooperative board game, Pandemic. There’s an online version these days. Not sure if it’s a little too high-level of a simulation for scouts, but I recall thinking as we played it, “These engineers have no idea how close to reality this hits home.”

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi!  I found your post because we are in a similar situation.  My daughter is going for her Eagle Award and just needs to complete this badge - one of my favorites.  I am a MBC but not for this badge.  Have you gotten any other responses on any other research?  My daughter spoke to our Emergency Management team where we live and asked about any virtual drills they were doing. They sited Federal mandates postponing everything (incl online?) but did say that they are still doing individual training.  After her brief talk with us, the state Emergency worker contacted others on the team and read our badge requirements, she said they did lots of searches for us and found Virtual Drills around the country that a scout could review.  The people on our area's team felt this should be a great way of viewing a drill while under COVid restrictions.  I'd like to get an ok from higher powers that be in scouting but this sounds like a great learning experience and wholly needed and appropriate during COVid.  They also added that often drills are done virtually.  Hope this helps...  Best of luck!

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@LoriT, welcome to the forums. To find those “higher powers in scouting,” grab your SM, the E. Prep. MBC, and look in a mirror (virtually).

Fact is we are all living out one big emergency preparedness drill. You have guidance from your state official. You’re not gonna loose on this one.

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Hi Lori, and welcome! 

Your idea sounds great! I hope it works well for you. 

I proposed to my troop's leaders and parents that we ask the scouts to make and donate masks to a local school, as we are in a state of emergency where we live, and this is a needed service project.  I offered to buy and deliver all materials and coordinate the project. 

It went nowhere. One parent liked the idea. The other EP mbc in the Troop rejected the idea and instead gave a suggestion incompatible with social distancing.  The scoutmaster said he'd try to put something together after the pandemic was over. 

So, as the mbc is a council position, and I don't actually work for the Troop, I offered to organize this anyway.  

I've pasted my email to the Troop below with the links to mask patterns in case anyone wants to use it. 

I'm pretty frustrated.  I counsel over 20 different badges now because we keep losing counselors and nobody will step up to replace them.  Our council and district make it very difficult to get mbc applications approved.  They drop us every year and make us apply all over again fresh.  Last year, they lost my application, and it took months of phone calls from me for them to find it. 

I've lost all respect for the powers that be at the district, council, and national.  I do what I think is best now, and I've stopped asking what they think. They never return calls or emails anyway.  

I'm done.  The scouts are great. I enjoy helping them.  I love our troop volunteers, and I'm very grateful for how they've helped my son.  After 11 years of dealing with the paid staff at council, who aren't worth $0.02 between them, I've filled out my last form.  I just want to help my son finish his Eagle and be done. 

These are not normal times.  Adapting requirements to social distancing is appropriate and necessary.  I would expect the project I proposed below to take at least 3-4 hours, which is more than the scouts would spend doing a pretend drill at a troop meeting.

Good luck with your project, Lori. You sound like a wonderful mom. 


Dear Scouts and Scout families,

I hope you are all doing well.  As a registered merit badge counselor for the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge, I would like to offer one idea for scouts who need requirement 7A while avoiding contact outside the home.

Requirement 7A states: "Take part in an emergency service project, either a real one or a practice drill, with a Scouting unit or a community agency."

We are in a statewide state of emergency.  MUST ministries has real service projects that are able to accept help from minors and can be done at home.  I've attached the full response I received from MUST at the end of this email along with contact information for the volunteer coordinator at MUST.

The items most needed by MUST to combat the covid emergency are face masks.  If any Scout makes 50 masks (no-sew or sewn) and delivers them to MUST at their donation center, I will sign off on requirement 7A of the EP merit badge.  I'll also be happy to help any scout with the remainder of the badge until the end of this year (when my merit badge counselor certification expires).

Instructions for no-sew masks

Instructions for sewn masks






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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/4/2020 at 7:28 PM, GeorgiaMom said:


Requirement 7A states: "Take part in an emergency service project, either a real one or a practice drill, with a Scouting unit or a community agency."

I'm an EPrep MBC, and when I first heard "make masks", I thought "that's not a real Emergency Preparedness project!" too, but when you quote the requirement it makes sense.

The one thing I'd still watch out for would be that whatever the scout takes part in, it should be a "project", something planned and with tasks allocated to participants, something with measures of completion and success, not just an "activity" where people individually do something that may be related to an emergency. 

That doesn't mean the Scout has to make the plan, or direct its execution. Making the plan would be Personal Management requirement 9, and directing a project (assuming it was otherwise suitable, he directed it alone, had all the approvals lined up, etc.) would be an Eagle Project.  For E Prep 7a, he just needs to "take part", and it has to be an "emergency" project, either responding to a disaster or crisis, or, I would argue, preparing for one.

Likewise, requirement 7b says that the Scout should "Prepare a written plan". It doesn't say that it needs to be a good plan, or that the Scout has to present it to the troop, or his patrol, or get it approved by his Scoutmaster; just "a written plan".  But if the plan includes a way of establishing communication during an emergency, it might make sense for the troop to practice just that communication portion, as a drill; and that communication could probably be done in a socially distanced or even all-online way.   (Although a resilient communication should probably include contingency plans of radio, phone, and even physical travel as well.)

In any case, I would encourage a Scout writing a plan (or explaining his troop's existing plan) for 7b to include COVID-safety considerations in the plan; and if the plan covers other disasters but not a new or worsening pandemic, to augment it.

Edited by DavidLeeLambert
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I like the ideas discussed above.

Every MB has requirements that are usually done poorly.  For emergency preparedness, it's the drill.  Never done great.  Somehow our troop has used the summer camp emergency drill to fill the requirement.  The emergency plan was often chicken tracks haphazardly done on paper. 

Edited by fred8033
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