Being prepared for severe weather is something we think about while we're home, but we often don't consider it while we're camping. As the adults, we'll watch the weather forecast and plan accordingly. But our Scouts still need to know what to do in severe weather situations that may arise while we're camping.
In fact, one of the required Wolf Adventures has the Cub Scout discussing how to be prepared for possible weather changes.
Wolf Adventure – Call of the Wild 2: With your family or den, make a list of possible weather changes that could happen during your outing according to the time of year you are outside. Tell how you will be prepared for each one.
Here are a few of the situations and some simple rules that your Scouts can follow. After the list, there's a fun game the Scouts can play.
What to Do When Bad Weather Strikes
- Flash Flood
“When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” is a phrase that is easy for the Scouts to remember. Many Cub Scout families do “car camping” where their vehicle is parked close to the campsite. If you can, get to your car if you hear thunder. You can read more information at the National Weather Service's site.
If you can't get to your car, you and your Cub Scouts should get into the lightning stance. Squat down with your weight on the balls of your feet, crouch low to the ground, and cover your ears with your hands.
It's advisable to move to an area that is lower and has shorter trees (you don't want to be near the tallest trees), but it's much more important to get into the lightning stance.
“Get in, Get Down, and Cover Up!” is our tornado safety phrase. If there is a building close by (such as restrooms), go inside. Don't go to your car. If you are caught outside with no buildings available, the best option is to find the lowest spot in the ground and lay flat, covering your head with your hands. The National Weather Service also has information about tornado safety.
The flash flood safety phrase is, “Turn Around, Don't Drown!” This is to remind us that we should never drive nor walk through water if we are unsure of how deep it is.
If you hear or see water rushing toward you, drop your gear and move to higher ground immediately and as quickly as you can. Read more about flood safety.
Weather Preparedness Drill Game
To make practicing these safety measures fun, I created this little game. To prepare for the game, write the following phrases on pieces of paper. You can also get the free printable below.
- Tall Tree
- Short Trees
- Low Spot
- Open Area
Tape these up around your meeting room.
Start by talking to the Scouts about the actions they should take depending on the weather emergency. Have them squat in a lightning stance, lay flat for tornadoes, and pantomime climbing for flash floods. They can practice these several times.
Instruct the Scouts to pretend they're on a camping trip. They should look around the room to see different areas of the campground.
When you call out a weather event, they are to move to the safer spot and take the appropriate action. For example, if you call out “tornado,” they should run to the sign marked “low spot,” and lay down flat.
There may be more than one correct answer, so I'll list out possible answers:
- Tornado – Lay down flat in the lowest spot
- Lightning – Lightning stance by car, lowest spot or short trees
- Flood – Climb up the hill
Continue randomly calling out one of the three weather events. Speed up, and watch the Scouts hustle!
I hope this helps your Cub Scouts learn what to do in a weather emergency while camping.
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. If you want your Scouts to work on rank requirements while you're camping, print this list to take with you. It includes activities by rank that can be done during a camp out.