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SURVIVE THIS! by josh pi v en In Case of Fire

Follow these simple steps so that you and your Scouts will escape safely from smoke or flames.

EMERGENCY SITUATION Your troop has just assembled in the church basement for its monthly meeting when a Scout near the back of the room stands up, calls for attention, and points to the closed door. Smoke is slowly billowing from underneath it. What do you do?

Solution ASSUMING THE CHURCH isn’t having a basement barbecue, you’re about to

put your training to use in a big way. No two fire situations are exactly

alike: Fire conditions vary in severity, building layouts differ, and there’s no easy way to predict how quickly a fire will spread. Nevertheless, one piece of advice holds true: Do not waste time. Fire moves fast, and your first concern should be to get out immediately, and then call 911 once you’re safe. Don’t try to be the hero with the garden hose. Leave the firefighting to the firefighters. For every rule, though, there’s an

exception: A small, contained fire in many cases can be extinguished

using a Class ABC fire extinguisher. However, in a situation where the severity of the fire is unknown, take the following steps. First, consult your fire-safety plan.

Your troop should have one, and, best case, you’ll have evacuation pro- cedures that you practice regularly. Proper fire-safety plans note each available exit and a path to it. Always provide at least two exits, in case one is inaccessible. (See a meeting-place inspection list at During the emergency, act to calm fellow Scouts, particularly younger boys who may become frightened or begin to panic. Second, based on your fire-safety

plan, consider options for escape. If the primary exit is through the door that has smoke billowing underneath it, that’s probably not the best choice. Try feeling the door or the door handle, using the back of your hand, to deter- mine if either is warm. Do not open the door. Not only will you risk letting smoke into the room, you’ll also make things worse by adding the room’s oxygen to the fire. Next, direct everyone in the room to get low to the floor. Smoke rises, so the safest posture is on all fours. Remember, you don’t have to be in a room filled with smoke to become incapacitated by it. Smoke from fires contains a witch’s brew of toxins, and you may become sick or lose consciousness from inhaling relatively minor amounts. Or, your vision might even become blurred. If the smoke is thick, direct every-

one to cover their mouths and noses with bandanas, neckerchiefs, or any available fabric. If possible, dampen

42 SCOUTING ¿  


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