By U.S. Army Maj. D. Marshall Bornn Jr.
ASG-QA, Boy Scout Volunteer Coordinator
DOHA, Qatar - Now, more than ever, the motto of the Boy Scouts of America,"Be Prepared," still rings true. We see all around the world examples of natural and man-made disasters that continue to find whole segments of the population completely unprepared to cope whether directly or indirectly affected.
In Doha, 35 military volunteers from the local Army and Air Force bases challenged 26 skilled Boy Scouts and leaders to become more proficient in responding to emergencies ranging from tornadoes to animal attacks.
Back in December, Troop 970's senior patrol leader, J. Mundy, wanted to have a disaster day to give his troop the ability to work on their emergency preparedness merit badge - complete requirements towards the BSA Emergency Preparedness Badge and better prepare the scouts for stressful situations that they might be involved in their lives in scouting and beyond.
Working with the troop committee chair, S. Sherman, and Scoutmasters T. Yearout and J. Sulik; they asked the volunteer coordinators from Camp As Sayliyah and the Jar Saleh organizations to give them an idea of what they could provide to facilitate this endeavor.
What they came up with was a realistic, scenario driven day of training with four stations that had elements of a tornado, watercraft, hiking and animal disaster. Using the Air Force exercise moulage team from the 379th Expeditionary Medical Group, victims were given realistic injuries that for Star Scout, C. Goulden were, "intense, exciting and made the training even more realistic than we could have imagined."
As patrols navigated the different scenarios, roleplayers yelled for help, cried and gave the scouts a good understanding of what they would encounter during a typical disaster situation. Each patrol was graded on team work, medical treatment and understanding how to triage the most seriously injured, stabilize and safeguard them until first responders could take over.
As one patrol came upon the hiking and animal attack station, they were initially frozen by the chaotic scene and enormity of the situation. Their patrol leader M. Crookshanks went into action providing direction and organizing the patrol members into smaller teams to triage the wounded and administer first aid. At the tornado disaster scenario, chairs were flipped, debris was everywhere and under most of it were the role players asking for help from the scout patrol. Again, the scouts assessed the situation and provided the needed aid to save the most injured and comfort those who were less seriously injured. At the watercraft accident station, the scout patrols encountered a drowning victim. Using lifesaving techniques learned during a recent swimming merit badge, they saved the victim. The patrol pulled another victim from an overturned boat, administered CPR, placed the victim (a 180-pound CPR dummy) on a C-Spine backboard, and carried the victim to safety. An amazing feat for the scouts that averaged far less than the weight of the victims or the CPR dummies used as training aides. After every lane, each patrol conducted an after action review on how things went and ways to improve their skills and leadership to address similar incidents facilitated by the military volunteers that were assigned to each of the lanes.
In the end, the scouts and the leaders were very appreciative of the efforts and support provided by the military volunteers and the coordinators of the event: Lt. Col S. Frazier, Sgt. 1st Class P. Charles, 1st Lt. R. Ramo.
Scoutmaster J. Sulik stated, "The continued relationship with the military volunteers has had a tremendous impact on all the scouts, and has solidified the much deserved positive opinion of the military in the Doha community. Our scouts are truly better prepared because of their efforts which will make them better scouts, men and citizens."