© InfoPeople bingo is a familiar icebreaker. It takes a bit of preparation – but is worth it. It is a fun and engaging way of helping people get to know something about each other quickly. In this case, it also effortlessly raises awareness of some key aspects of emergencies.
With the emergency bingo resources on this page, the main work is done. Just download the bingo card. Then all you need to do is make a copy for each person in your group. Though of course it adds another dimension if you introduce your own questions, relevant to the group or some members of it.
The resource is flexible. Traditionally, it would be used as an icebreaker at the beginning of an event. It could also be very useful as an exercise between sessions – young people could take the cards away, complete them with friends and family, and bring them back for the next session.
Either before or after playing, you can introduce the basic definition of an emergency. The most helpful way of looking at it is to say that
"A personal emergency is when an event causes some kind of risk to someone's health or welfare and which cannot be dealt with using normal available resources."
In other words, in an emergency, you need help.
The task for the group is to fill in their cards, writing in the name of someone in the room who fits the criteria.
Find someone who...
- has been evacuated from a building.
- knows someone who works in one of the emergency services.
- has been helped by one of the emergency services.
- has ever locked themselves out.
- knows the emergency services phone number that works throughout the European Union.
- has ever missed their last bus or train home.
- knows where to find a first aid kit.
- has given money to a disaster appeal.
- has been left stranded with no cash.
- remembers seeing the government leaflet "Preparing for Emergencies".
Add your own, relevant to the group. For instance, if you live in an area with an active mountain rescue service, or lifeboat service, include those. Or if your area is prone to floods, or other hazard, devise a question that relates to them. If you happen to know that someone has had a dramatic experience, include it. People like detective work.
Play it as a competitive game if you like – perhaps with a time limit, the winners being those with the greatest number of entries filled. If you play "first to complete the card wins", decide whether you are going to stop the game then, or let others play on for second and third places.
Whether you play competitively or not, be aware that the main point is the discussions that the game provokes. Encourage them, both to let people find out about each other, and to raise awareness of what emergencies are and how people deal with them.
This resource was written by PJ White and produced in May 2008.
This resource and other free educational materials are available at www.redcross.org.uk/education