First Aid Dramatizations




Search  Inquiry Net

Back ] Home ] Up ]

Meeting Room Safety
First Aid Dramatizations

Scout Books

Site Contents

Relate First Aid Training to Natural Situations 

First aid doesn't need to be dealt with as a subject distinct from other activities. Burns occur where there is fire. First aid for burns can be taught in connection with fire building or cooking. Cuts usually happen when sharp-edged tools are being used; blisters, sprains and strains on hikes; puncture wounds on outdoor activities. You and your leaders will find many ways of relating first aid training to other experiences, and in this way make it practical and interesting.

Do It In the Dark

With instruction and patient practice, almost anyone can apply first aid under bright lights. But how about doing it in the dark? How about applying a sterile dressing to a head wound and binding it in place by moonlight, or with no light at all?

Practice in darkness (or blindfolded) will develop skill. Every problem should be chosen with care and practiced first in good light; then slowly in the pale light of a not-to-strong flashlight; and then in blindfolded darkness.

This kind of practice is important not only because it develops the ability to do first aid in the dark, it also builds confidence and gives extra skill for working under any conditions- with or without light.

Use Experience Problems

First aid training can be academic and dull or realistic, practical and interesting. Realistic experience problems are an interesting way to teach first aid as well as to test knowledge and skill.

Along with personal first aid, relating first aid training to activities in which injuries may occur and practicing in the dark, "real" problems make first aid an experience that is not likely to be forgotten.

A Scout learns to swim by getting his feet wet, not by standing on the shore and going through the motions of swimming He becomes skillful with an axe by using it to cut wood. He learns how to use rope in a practical way, by handling something larger and longer than three feet of clothesline. Why, therefore, shouldn't he learn first aid by practicing it on "patients" whose wounds or symptoms appear real?

Setting Up The Problem

1. Select problems that are natural.

For example, burns occur only where there is heat; cuts in places where sharp-edged tools are being used; falls where there are places from which to fall.

2. Make the situation look real.

It's easy, practical and inexpensive to make first aid training realistic and it has great dramatic appeal. If we use a little imagination and some simple equipment, it is no longer necessary for us to say such things as, "This patient has a burn on his right hand. Care for it," when so far as the first-aider can see there is nothing wrong with that hand. Instead, we can make up a burn that looks real.

In these problems a live patient is "made-up" and placed in position; example, man is lying at the foot of a broken ladder with leg twisted in a distorted position, he is pale (white powder and grease paint on face) and has a bump (wax) on his head.

Making it look real applies to the circumstances surrounding the problem as well as the injury itself When a first-aider approaches a problem, he should be able to determine what is wrong, not only from what he is told but also from what he sees.

Get props that will make the injury look real.

Care should be taken to instruct the subject so that his behavior will show other symptoms related to his injury or illness. He feels faint, breathes deeply, gasps for breath, etc., depending upon what is supposed to be wrong.

Following Through To Completion

Applying "make-up" to create a realistic wound is no good unless that wound is cared for. If help is needed, it should be secured. If circumstances require transportation, it should be provided, etc.

Using Contests

Contests add interest to training in first aid and create a desire to do a good job. Here are some tips:

1. Use realistic problems.

2. Include only one major injury in each problem.

3. Assign a judge to each problem and have him judge all teams that deal with that problem.

4. Instruct judges beforehand.

They should know all the details of the problem and what first aid treatment is expected.

5. Use a simple scoring plan.

Team should be judged on the way they handled the whole problem including doing first things first and following all the way through.

SPEED SHOULD NOT BE AN ELEMENT. Careful handling is often forgotten when there is a time limit on a problem.

6. Have a discussion.

After all problems have been completed, ask the judges to describe what was done .. . good and bad. Stimulate group discussion.

Make It Look Real

Simple methods of using make-up have been used with great success in training both Scouts and Scouters and have been received enthusiastically. They can be used in Patrol first aid training and will put new life into first aid events,



  1. 1 red candle or 1 can of mortician's wax
  2. 1 jar of inexpensive cold cream colored with Cadmium red artist's oil paint
  3. (This mixture is used to represent thick or clotted blood)
  4. 1 small spatula

Build up a layer of red candle wax by allowing it to drip where the cut is to be. While the wax is still fluid, tip the injured part to allow the wax to run and thus appear to be clotted blood. Dip a spatula in the red cold cream mixture, then draw the narrow edge through the wax, thus making a cut. Smear some of the red cold cream mixture over the sides of the cut and on the wax that has run away from the wound. Small cuts can be represented simply by making a smear with the spatula dipped in the red cold cream mixture.



bullet1 red lipstick or a red grease paint "liner"
bullet1 white candle
bullet1 black marking crayon
bullet1 tube of liquid adhesive or rubber cement

Blend red grease paint evenly over the area that has been theoretically burned. On this area drip white candle wax, holding the candle not more than two inches above the flesh. These drippings will form what appears to be a blister. Darken another part of the area with black marking crayon, over this place a layer of liquid adhesive. When that is dry, loosen it with a blunt spatula in such a way that it appears to be burned flesh and broken blisters. In this way the three degrees of burns can be shown - (1) Redness, (2) Blisters, and (3) Destroyed tissue.



bullet3 grease paint "liners" - pale flesh-colored, blue, gray

While your suffocation subject cannot stop breathing for any length of time, appearance of asphyxiation can be given by applying pale flesh-colored grease paint to face, neck and hands, and then working in enough blue and gray to give the skin a dark, congested look.

If the person made up in this way is placed in a room in which there is an odor of gas (use a few lumps of carbide dampened with water to give gas odor) for example, his condition should be recognized without difficulty. If it is supposedly a drowning case, dress the "subject" in old wet clothes.


Simple fractures may be made by deforming an arm or leg with mortician's wax. Apply cold cream to the hands before holding the wax. This will enable you to affix it without having it stick to your hands.

Compound fractures are formed by molding mortician's wax around one or more broken, bleached chicken bones. Smear some of the red cold cream mixture on the bones where they protrude from the wax.


One can of soft mortician's wax; plain cold cream; red cold cream mixture; assorted chicken bones bleached by boiling in a solution of one tablespoon of washing soda to one- half pint of water for 30 minutes and then dried in an oven.

These are a few of the simple make-up projects which can be developed; others are blisters, scrapes, nosebleed, fainting, and shock. By adding a few more items of simple equipment, arterial bleeding and a wide variety of other problems can be simulated.

Arterial Bleeding


1 "push-top" bottle that will throw a fine stream of liquid. Attach it to six feet of small flexible plastic or gum rubber tubing. Any empty "push-top" bottle of the type used to dispense hand lotion, window cleaners, etc., is easy to get and inexpensive.

bullet1 roll of one-half inch adhesive tape
bullet1 flesh-colored grease paint "liner"
bullet1 bottle of red liquid to represent blood. Any coloring agent that will make water blood- red is good. Dark red sign-paint (water color) diluted in water and red food coloring in water thickened with cocoa are both good.

Place one end of small tubing at a point on top of an artery, and fasten it with adhesive tape. Color the tape with flesh-colored grease paint. Plug the end of the tubing with a stick dipped in cold cream. Build up a "wound" at the opening of the tubing, as described in Cuts.

Fill the "push-top" bottle with blood-red liquid; attach the other end of the tubing to it; remove the stick that has been used as a plug; alternately press and release the plunger .. . result - spurting arterial bleeding.

The "County Fair"

Under this plan of instruction and practice, demonstrations or activities are carried on simultaneously at a number of different stations, and Patrols move from one place to another.

As a training device, the County Fair method gives an opportunity for instruction and practice in small groups.

Stations are set up, one for each of several subjects, Patrols move from one station to another on a time schedule. At each station they listen to a brief explanation, see a demonstration and practice what they've heard and seen.

This method requires enough trained men or boys to man all stations. It provides an opportunity for individual instruction and is different and new.

A Typical Personal First Aid "County Fair"

Station 1 - FAINTING

An instructor is made up to simulate symptoms. He goes through phases of treating himself under varying conditions. Then Scouts practice what was demonstrated.

Station 2 - WOUNDS

A wound on the finger is made with lipstick. "Make-it-look-real" methods are used to simulate bleeding in the arm. Dressings are actually sterilized and applied. Improvised bandages are used-handkerchief for finger, compresses and binder for arm wound - in demonstration and practice.

Station 3 - FRACTURES

Fractures are shown by using wax for swelling and distortion. Splints and sling are applied after instruction.

Station 4 - BURNS

The hand shows symptoms of first, second, and third degree burns. Hand is treated and bandaged. All do treatment and bandaging on themselves.

Station 5 - SPRAINS

The ankle and wrist bandages are applied by an instructor on himself. All Scouts then apply bandages on themselves.


A blister on the heel is made by dripping wax from a candle. Nosebleed is made by making red streaks under the nose with red grease paint. Treatment of both are demonstrated and practiced.

Testing Effectiveness of Training

The "County Fair" method can be used to test what has been learned. Stations are set up with equipment and judges at each one. Each Patrol is responsible for setting up and supervising one station, but provision is made so that those on duty are relieved and can take part in all events.

One or more problems are staged and scored at each station. Here is a suggested list of problems:

Personal First Aid Problems

  1. You feel faint.
  2. You have cut your right arm three inches above the wrist. Blood spurting out. (Lipstick is put on the arm to indicate where cut is.)
  3. You have been struck on the head. Blood is running from a wound on the top right side.
  4. You have burned your right hand on the back (3rd degree).
  5. You tripped, fell and sprained your right ankle.
  6. Your nose is bleeding badly (Lipstick below nose).
  7. You have a large blister on your left heel from hiking (Wax from candle on heel).
  8. You have just broken your right arm three inches below the elbow.
  9. You just cut the tip of your second finger, right hand with a knife (Lipstick indicates where cut is.)

Boy Scout Games






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Meeting Room Safety ] [ First Aid Dramatizations ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
How to Use This Book ] Scout Ways ] Tenderfoot Requirements ] Scout Knots ] 2nd Class Knife Axe Fire ] 2nd Class Wildlife ] Compass Treasure Hunts ] First Class Wood Love ] First Aid Games ] Signaling Games ]

The Inquiry Net Main Topic Links:
 [Outdoor Skills]  [Patrol Method [Old-School]  [Adults [Advancement]  [Ideals]  [Leadership]  [Uniforms]

Search This Site:

Search Amazon.Com:

When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online.  Thank you for your consideration!



Amazon Logo



Scout Books Trading Post

Dead Bugs, Blow Guns, Sharp Knives, & Snakes:
What More Could A Boy Want?

Old School Scouting:
What to Do, and How to Do It!

To Email me, replace "(at)" below with "@"

If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the "URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen.  Most URLs start with the letters "http://"

The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.  

2003, 2011 The Inquiry Net,  In addition to any Copyright still held by the original authors, the Scans, Optical Character Recognition, extensive Editing,  and HTML Coding on this Website are the property of the Webmaster.   My work may be used by individuals for non-commercial, non-web-based activities, such as Scouting, research, teaching, and personal use so long as this copyright statement and a URL to my material is included in the text
The purpose of this Website is to provide access  to hard to find, out-of-print documents.  Much of the content has been edited to be of practical use in today's world and is not intended as historical preservation.   I will be happy to provide scans of specific short passages in the original documents for people involved in academic research.  


Last modified: October 15, 2016.