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Blog | Volunteer uses skills from Scouts during emergency
21/11/2020 By Website Admin


It's not just the young people who learn skills for life, one of our volunteers, Keith from Gordon District, put his first aid training learned in Scouts into practice during some difficult circumstances. 

All our adult volunteers undergo first response first aid training to prepare them for situations which may arise as part of our work. Our young people also do first aid training as part of the different section programmes so it's tailored to each age group.

Recently, Keith had to put his training put into practice for real near the summit of the UK’s highest mountain.

Out-with his Scouting time Keith spends a lot of time in the outdoors travelling to various places across the UK regularly. During this solo back-packing trip, Keith came across a small group of people near the summit of Ben Nevis, in which a person had been injured from a 2-metre fall.

Keith calmly advised the group what to do, firstly by contacting emergency services and giving them their detailed location (grid reference and height). Keith next applied first aid by checking that there were no other injuries and assisted in gently moving him to a slightly more sheltered location out of the elements.

At a height of around 1100m, just above the snow line with very strong winds, the group became concerned about the potential for hypothermia. Given the anticipated long wait, Keith then gave the casualty his own jacket and descended to his tent some 500m below to get more equipment.

After his return, the rescue team then arrived and took over, taking the casualty down to the helicopter where they were then flown to Belford hospital in Fort William. Keith then enjoyed a peaceful night in his tent near the Lochan on Nevis.

Thankfully for all involved, the outcome was successful and the casualty was evacuated safely to the local hospital with some injuries, but this could have turned out differently without the right training. Keith received a message the following days from one of the party reading: “Thank you for your invaluable help, knowledge and advice today (& your jacket!). Thank you so much for your calm demeanour, particularly while stating all the facts". 

Keith summarised for us what did Scouting had to do with this but stressed that first aid training is really important for our volunteers to keep up to date with:

  • The Scout Promise “to do my best, to help other people”
  • Knowing what to do in an emergency
  • Map reading (grid reference, contours) and navigation
  • Estimating (cloud base)
  • First aid – bleeding, hypothermia, bone injury
  • Risk assessments – although not written down, a risk assessment had been undertaken with it being continually reviewed given the changing circumstances and the potential dangers all around.


It's safe to say it's not just the young people who learn skills for life, all our adult volunteers from all walks of life are able to learn new skills by taking up new roles and challenges. First aid is part of our adult training journey, but it is always important to keep up to date with the latest developments with first aid and remember to be safe if assisting another person with your experience especially during these times. 

Everyone here at North East Scotland Scouts wishes the casualty a speedy recovery and thank Keith for his efforts, our volunteers go above and beyond for others. 

For the latest updates on Scouts and First Aid:

For more information on first aid there are also some fantastic external resources available online: