The Scout Trip to the Fire Brigade

To get our fire safety badges the scouts went to the Belsize fire brigade. The first thing we learnt about was what to do in the cause of a fire: GET OUT. CALL THE FIRE BRIGADE OUT. STAY OUT. These are the main things to do in the cause of a fire.

We also learnt that to check if there is a fire in one room you put the back of your hand against the door because if you put the palm of your hand against it the wood could be very hot and your skin would be ripped off. But if you use the back of your hand and the door is hot your instant reaction would be to pull away. This is the same with door handles. Another thing we learnt about was a flash bang. This when a fire has been in a room without any ventilation and the door in the room bursts open and a big whoosh of air is heard and a big explosion will occur that may kill you. 

Unfortunately we were not allowed to go down the pole because it is against policy. Other than that it was an excellent afternoon and I am sure everyone went away with some new information about fire safety.

By Callum McKillop

Belsize Fire Station

On Saturday 21st April, 19 of our scouts from the Eighth Hampstead visited the Belsize fire station. Upon arrival one of the firefighters, Henry, showed us the hoses on the fire truck. Around the streets of London, there are fire hydrants, which are marked by a yellow hatch with a black ‘H’ on it. These are used for firefighters to plug their hoses in and put out fires, wherever it may be.
We were then taken upstairs into a room where Henry and another firefighter, Lenny, went through all of the points of fire safety with us. They started off with the basics, like what fire is made up of (heat, fuel & oxygen) and that if any of these parts is removed, the fire will go out. Role-playing was also involved, where a certain situation would be introduced and we would have to figure out what we had to do. In the situation of a fire, there are three simple steps:                   
  1. Get Out.
  2. Call the Fire Brigade.
  3. Stay Out.
In the event of yourself being on fire, Stop, Drop and Roll! Stop immediately, drop to the ground and roll over repeatedly to smother the flames. Whilst you are doing this, make sure to cover you face with your hands to protect it as well as your lungs.
 If at a camp and a fire breaks out:
1. Attract Attention.
2. Use extinguisher for ‘first aid’.
3. Telephone the Fire Brigade.
4. Wait for the Fire Brigade and lead them to the fire
5. Do not risk injury to yourself.
If there is a blazing pan, you should take a fire blanket or a damp tea towel to smother it. This is useful as the most domestic fires are started by a blazing chip pan. In the case of a large domestic fire, you have to get out of the house, so having a home escape plan is encouraged. You are supposed to plan two ways out of every room and make sure that the route is not a risk. This can be hard though, because a lot of rooms only have one entrance/exit. You should also have a point outside to meet up with other members in your family.
When exiting a room, be sure to close the door behind you, as most people in fires die of the smoke, not the actual fire. The smoke can be extremely dangerous and can also be used as a fuel for the fire. If you inhale too much of the smoke, it burns your lungs and without lungs you cannot breathe.
Before opening a door in a fire, touch the door knob with the back of your hand because if there is a fire inside, the door will be hot. If you touch it with the palm of your hand, you will instinctively grab it. If you use the back of your hand, you will pull it away. It is important to do these things because if you close the door on the fire, it will burn up all of the oxygen inside of the room and eventually die out. If this is happening and then you open the door, oxygen will rush in and the fire will be fuelled, but instead of just starting up again, it leaps towards the oxygen and flies out of the door. This is called a backdraft.
Finally, we learnt about Fire Extinguishers. To use them, you use ‘PASS’:
 P – Pull the pin/safety clip
 A – Aim at the base of the fire, staying at least 2 metres away.
 S – Squeeze the handle.
 S – Sweep the base of the fire from side to side.
You must also make sure to use the right type of extinguisher in the current situation.
The London Fire Brigade is the fourth largest in the world with approximately 7000 staff and 5800 of them operational firefighters. Each station has four watches, blue, green, red and white. Each watch has two 10½ hour day shifts and two 13½ hour night shifts followed by four days off.
It is extremely bad to make hoax calls to the emergency services as when the call is taken, someone in real danger will not be able to call as the person is wasting the time of the operator. This is a criminal offense and can be punished by a sentence in jail.
When a real call comes in to a station, an alarm sounds telling the firefighters to mobilise. They then have one minute to get into their uniform, get into the truck and leave.
As well as tackling fires, the fire department also deal with rescuing trapped people, chemical spillages and road traffic collisions. This is what makes the Fire Brigade very much an essential part of any community. 
By Jonathan Routley

Fire Safety and Community Badge

On the 28th of April five members of the troop, I included, went to Belsize fire station for our fire safety and community badge. We were then told information on fire safety. This included several situations which included: in camp, at home and many others. Fire is a chemical reaction, otherwise known as combustion, and it needs three main qualities so that it may burn, these are: fuel heat and oxygen. Heat is needed so a critical temperature is reached, fuel is also needed so that the fire has something to combust and oxygen completes the combustion. Removing any of these qualities stops the fire.

The London fire brigade, LFB, is organized on a role based structure which explains the roles and responsibilities of each member of staff.   

In a camp if someone sees a fire that is very small and easy to put out, with equipment in close proximity to the fire, they should put it out using water or “smothering” the fire out. However, if there is a bigger fire then one should alert all people in the camp, especially the leaders, and then get out of the camp. One should not retrieve possessions from the camp site. The leaders, or a scout, must then call 999. These instructions are likewise to a fire in the home, the phrase “get out, stay out and call the fire brigade” re-iterates the actions that are necessary in the event of a fire.

Combustion is when, even with the smallest of fires, is released to a vast quantity of oxygen or flammable gas. This results in an explosion if the gas released is within a certain “critical explosion level”. In contrast to common belief fire is usually not the most common cause of death in a fire. Smoke is more common as it is poisonous to one’s lungs and will suffocate the person. At all times one should remain calm and tell everyone in the house or camp that there is a fire.

Oil heaters and cooking equipment can prove very dangerous as if they are caught in a fire as they provide a huge source of fuel to the fire and, in the case of gases, they will explode. Electric fires or similar devices could cause a fire by overheating or due to an electric impulse. Electric wiring or plugs have fuses which disconnect the electricity before it can cause harm. Party decorations and candles can set fire very easily as the party decorations droop from ceilings and are all paper and card, which are perfect fuels, and if a candle or such were to hang underneath such an item then it could cause a relatively big fire.

It is good to have a smoke detector as they will alert you to any fire or dangerous items releasing smoke before they become a fire. Carbon Monoxide detectors are also helpful as carbon monoxide infiltrates blood and makes one drowsy and could likely kill due to unconsciousness of the victim and then suffocation of the victim while they are unconscious.

Grass fires of often started in very hot places where the fire will spread freely, like in a hot area, for example Australia, where it is so hot and dry that fire will spread easily and quickly.

If one does need to call the fire brigade then one should stay calm and tell the operator the following: address, situation, anyone in the house or camping site etc and a rough estimate of the people.

If one sees someone whose clothes are on fire tell them to “stop, drop and roll”. This is known as the “smothering” technique as it ultimately deprives the fire of oxygen.

The watches are separated into 4 different colours and they are ready to come to a fire at different times, for example the green watch would deal with fires at midday would be ready and in the fire truck in roughly 2 minutes.

By Timur Von Polach

Fire Station Visit Review – Scouts

When we got to the fire station a fire-fighter called Henry showed us in; he showed us the “appliance” or the engine and the hoses.  He talked to us very briefly about the hydrants.  Afterwards Mei Ling took some pictures of us and we went upstairs to the dormitories where we were taken to one of the “living” rooms, where we were sat down and given leaflets for the Chubb fire safety badge. 

We were asked to look  through the leaflet whilst we were waiting for the more experienced fire-fighter, Lennie, to come to help Henry.  Lennie and Henry were members of the Blue watch.  There are four watches, the Black watch, The Blue watch, The Green watch and the White watch. 

When Lennie arrived we had to learn several items for instance “how the london fire service worked.”   The london fire service contains 7/8,000 people 5,800 are operational, are fire fighters.  After we had gone through the sheet, learning various things such as what to do in case of a fire. 

After this we went into the fire station office, after that we went downstairs,. Henry jumped down the fireman’s pole because we weren’t allowed to, for health and safety reasons. Then we saw how long it took Henry to get on his gear and get into the truck. We had one last photo opportunity. before going home. 

It was an extremely helpful trip, and I learnt more then than in all the collective school trips to various fire stations. 

By Alex Coleman