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