Scouts must choose only one of the merit badges listed in categories h, i and k. Any additional merit badges earned in those categories can be counted as one. The merit badges required by Águila are the backbone of Scouting. By earning just 13 of these mandatory badges (Citizenship In Society makes it 14 to July 1, 2002), Scouts learn valuable skills.
One of the first merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America, the First Aid Badge requires demonstrating the ability to help when someone is sick or injured until professional help arrives. The Eagle Scout rank requires the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge OR the Salvage Merit Badge. Scouts who earn both badges can count the second badge as an optional badge. By learning how to help a drowning person and how to handle almost any water emergency, I now feel safer knowing that I can take care of friends who drown if necessary.
You must also participate in an emergency service project with your troop and create an emergency spreadsheet. This is a plan to communicate plans to all Scouts in your troop in the event of an emergency. Although it's the most difficult requirement, creating a spreadsheet is a great way to learn how to prepare for the most common emergencies at home or in the community. The Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge will give you an excellent guide to managing crises in your own life.
This site has a number of resources to help you be prepared to evacuate your home in the event of a fire or other emergency. The Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge requires that you have already earned the First Aid Merit Badge. I completed Emergency Preparedness myself and worked on Saving Lives with my troop when I finished Scouting. Emergency preparedness is very practical and can often be an easier merit badge to earn than the life-saving badge for most Scouts.
If an emergency is coming and it can't be prevented, the next step is how to best protect those involved. They learn about community emergency preparedness plans and explore the many careers related to emergency preparedness. Younger scouts are often encouraged to complete the merit badges required by eagle first, so that they have greater flexibility and less distraction once they approach their eighteenth birthday and eagle rank. In addition to the emergency service project that can be done within your troop, getting this badge should be pretty straightforward.
Most Scouts earn the Emergency Preparedness merit badge, as the requirements are generally easier. With these pros and cons in mind, I would recommend each Scout to earn their Emergency Preparedness merit badge before working in Lifeguard.