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Boy Scout Troop 139

Building a Network of Preparedness

Boy Scout Troop 139 takes emergency and disaster preparedness seriously. In fact, the Troop, based in Sherman Oaks, California, has adopted an extended form of the Boy Scout’s familiar “Be Prepared” motto: “Be More Prepared to Act Quickly During and After an Emergency or Disaster.”

Troop 139 provides a number of opportunities for scouts and parents to improve their level of preparedness. Each year, it conducts hands-on training in CPR and first aid skills. It is also a regular participant in the Great California ShakeOut, a statewide earthquake preparedness program. The Troop’s goal is to teach Scouts how to respond in emergency and disaster situations to protect themselves and help others.

The Troop has also incorporated preparedness into its fundraising effort. In association with More Prepared, it has developed a novel program to sell first aid and survival kits. Through sales of the kits, the Troop earns money to fund scouting activities and help others to be more prepared in the event of an earthquake or other disaster or emergency.
“Participation in the program can also help scouts earn a merit badge in salesmanship,” notes Nathan Wolfstein, the Troop’s Assistant Scoutmaster for fundraising. “They learn what it takes to earn $20.”

Troop 139’s success with the program has caused it to be extended to other Boy Scout Troops and other clubs and organizations. Groups interested in selling first aid and survival kits as part of their fundraising efforts can do so by visiting the ShakeOut Shop on the Great California ShakeOut’s website.

Wolfstein has recently been working to connect Troop 139 and other Boy Scouts groups with other organizations interested in community preparedness. Scout groups are now working with chapters of the Rotary Club (of which Wolfstein is also a member) to coordinate their preparedness efforts.

“We want to extend the effort to Boy Scout and Rotary groups in other states,” says Wolfstein, a winner of the Business and Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness (BICEPP) Award of Excellence for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Emergency Planning and Preparedness. “We would like to have relief modules of trained people in every city.”


Girl Scout Helps School be More Prepared

Twelve-year-old Nicole Schaarschmidt possesses a sense of civic duty unusual in one so young. For her Girl Scout Silver Project, the 7th grade student at St. Raymond Catholic School in Dublin, California decided to help her school improve its level of emergency preparedness. The school ought to be well prepared, Nicole reasoned, as it was located barely a stone’s throw from the Calaveras Fault, a major branch of the San Andreas Fault system.

Working with school administrators and an emergency preparedness team from a local hospital, Nicole encouraged teachers and students to participate in the Great California Shakeout, a statewide preparedness event. They reviewed preparedness plans, checked stockpiles of emergency supplies and conducted earthquake drills. Nicole visited classrooms to talk about disaster readiness and even developed a system of color coded cards that teachers could use in an emergency to instantly let administrators know the state of their classrooms.

“A green card means everyone’s okay, an orange card means there are minor injuries like cuts or scrapes, a red card means there’s a really big injury or a child is missing,” Nicole explains.

Nicole extended her preparedness crusade to her parish church and also manned an information booth at fairs conducted by her church and other community groups where she handed out preparedness information (in English and Spanish) and sold survival kits from More Prepared.

“My mom found the More Prepared website, and we thought it was a good thing to tell people about,” Nicole says. “It’s a great place to buy emergency supplies.” More Prepared returned 10-percent of the proceeds of sales to St. Raymond Catholic School.

Nicole has not experienced an earthquake firsthand, but a tornado once touched down near her home when her family was living in Indiana. Her Silver Project helped Nicole understand how important it is to be ready for such emergencies. “I learned a lot about the best ways to stay safe.”