Outdoor Safety

(Discover the Outdoors)

By Kerry Cordy



(You may use any higher level requirement as an optional requirement.)


Penguin:  Do three requirements

Otter:  Do four requirements

Dolphin:  Do five requirements

Butterfly:  Do six requirements

Eagle:  Do seven requirements

Owl: Do nine requirements



_____ 1.  Learn about drinking water safety and purification when participating in outdoor activities.  Purify some water for drinking using one of the following methods.


  • Portable water purification filters:  Pump water through the system and the filter removes all protozoa and bacteria.
  • Chemical Tablets:  Tablets are the easiest and quickest way to purify your water, but they have a limited shelf life, so make sure they are still good when you bring them.  Some protozoa may not be killed by chemical tablets, and they can take longer to work if the water is especially cold or dirty.  Chemical tablets can also affect the taste of the water.
  • Boiling Water:  Bring water to a rolling boil for at least 10 minutes and then let cool before drinking.



_____ 2.  Know basic water safety rules for being in and around water and demonstrate them when participating in water activities.


  • The best way to stay safe in the water is to learn to swim.
  • Know what the depth markers mean in large or public pools.
  • Test the water temperature before you plunge in. Cold water can shock your body and make your blood pressure and heart rate go up. You might accidentally open your mouth to yell and accidentally breathe in some water. Cold water can also slow your muscles, making it hard to swim.
  • Pool gates are there to protect you. Never go through a pool gate unless an adult is with you.
  • Always obey all pool rules.
  • Always walk in a pool area, do not run.
  • Never swim without a buddy
  • Never dive into shallow or murky water
  • Never dive into water with submerged obstacles such as rocks or trees.
  • Never swim without an adult present
  • Swim at a depth that is safe for you. If you're just learning to swim, stay in the shallow end.
  • If you swim in a pond, lake, or river the fish swimming around won't hurt you. They may hide jagged rocks, broken bottles, or trash however. Wear something to protect your feet. Also, watch out for mud, weeds and grass, which can trap even a good swimmer. If you panic and try to yank yourself free, you may get even more tangled. Instead, shake and pull your arms and legs slowly to work yourself loose or call for an adult's help.
  • Don't chew gum or eat while you swim — you could choke
  • Stop swimming or boating as soon as you see or hear a storm. Remember, lightning is electricity — electricity and water are a dangerous combination.
  • If you find yourself in trouble and someone comes to rescue you in deep water, remain calm and do not grab a hold of your rescuer. If you interfere with your rescuer you can both drown. Stay calm and let them “tow” you to safety.
  • Always wear a PFD (personal floatation device) when boating, or swimming in fast moving water.



_____ 3.  Learn how to properly pack and store food when participating in outdoor activities. Pack a cooler for an outdoor trip or learn to hang food in bear country.


  • Keep cold foods cold using a cooler and ice.  Keep it cold with fresh ice when necessary.
  • Never keep food in your tent, car, or backpacks where wildlife may be able to get to it.
  • Store food either in a designated food closet, or hang between two trees at least 10’ off the ground
  • Precook all meats. Coolers do not keep things at a constant temperature and raw meats can spoil quickly.


_____ 4.  Earn the Fire Building badge


_____ 5.  Earn the First Aid badge


_____ 6.  Earn the Pocket Knife Safety badge


_____ 7.  Earn the Water Safety badge


_____ 8.  Explore careers that have to do with outdoor safety such as rescue workers, meteorologists, forestry workers, outdoor equipment retailer or manufacturer, etc.


_____ 9.  Take a field trip to a camping store, and explore equipment that can help you keep safe while participating in outdoor activities.


_____ 10.  Learn wildlife safety:


  • Animals are unpredictable.  Never approach or feed a wild animal. Even cute animals can get territorial and dangerous.  Most animals are afraid of you and will run, but some, thanks to constant interaction with people, can get aggressive if you attempt to feed or interact with them.
  • Always keep your eyes out for harmful wildlife such as spiders, snakes, ants, scorpions, etc. Do not pick up large rocks or sticks and always look carefully before taking a seat on a boulder or log. Many snakes and poisonous insects like to hide in the shade of  these objects.  If you do come across a snake, do not make any sudden movements as this will alarm the snake and it may strike.  Stay calm and slowly move away from the snake. Make sure all other campers are aware of where the snake is located so that they can avoid it.
  • Watch for ant hills or colonies.  Many ants bite and building your tent on top of an anthill is never a good idea.
  • Know what wild animals are in your area and what to do if you encounter them such as bears, mountain lions, bobcats, wild pigs, etc.


_____ 11.  *  Learn the  hiking safety rules below and obey them at all times.


  • Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated.  Do not drink from streams or lakes.
  • Only hike during daylight hours.
  • Never hike alone – stay with a group and have at least 2 adults with you.
  • Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.
  • Stay on the marked trail.
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Bring a whistle in case you get lost.  Whistles are a lot louder than shouting.  If you get lost.  Stay put and blow your whistle.
  • Bring snacks for longer hikes.
  • Watch the weather and do not hike if there is a possibility of storms or bad weather.  Dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Hike early in the day to avoid the worst of the heat.
  • Always tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • Make sure you have a special meeting location in case you get separated.
  • Bring a small first aid kit
  • Watch your step.  Be aware of snakes, uneven terrain, or hazardous plants.
  • Pace yourself and take regular breaks.  Do not attempt a hike that is too advanced for you.



_____ 12.  Learn to identify the plants in your area that are poisonous, or can cause rashes or injury.  Examples might include poison oak, nettles,  poison ivy, poison sumac, cactus, or oleanders.


_____ 13.  Be able to explain proper clothing and attire for a variety of outdoor activities such as beach days, hiking, camping, or boating.  How should the weather affect your choices in attire?  Know the characteristics of different fabrics such as cotton, wool and polyester.  Which keep you cool? Dry? Warm?


Activity suggestion:  Place the end of a cotton sock and a wool sock into a bowl of water.  How fast/far does the water travel up each?  Which do you think would keep you drier?  Which might keep you warmer?


_____ 14.  Learn about different alarm methods that campgrounds and parks use in case of emergency.    Know what to do in case of severe storm, flood, tornado, or wildfire while outdoors.


_____ 15.  Participate in an outdoor activity and learn all safety rules that apply to it.  Examples might be hiking, camping, kayaking, rock climbing, zip-lining, etc.  This requirement may be repeated.



Websites:  These websites are not associated with our program and we cannot guarantee their content.  Please do not surf the internet without your parent’s permission.


Outdoor food safety