- Adult Leadership
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use and Abuse
- Emergency Service
- Fuels and Fire Prevention
- First Aid
- Guns and Firearms
- Sports and Activities
- Medical Information
- Serious or Fatal Injuries or Illnesses
- Trail Safety
- Winter Sports Activities
- Special Precautions
- Youth Protection and Child Abuse
If fire breaks out, it must be quickly and properly suppressed. To do this, you must know the three classes of fires and how to combat them:
Class A - Fires that involve normally combustible material such as paper, wood, fabrics, rubber, and many plastics can be quenched with water or insulated with tri-class chemical or foam extinguishers.
Class B - Fires that involve gasoline, oil, grease, tars, paints, lacquers, or flammable gases. The oxygen that supports this type of fire must be cut off by tri-class, regular dry chemical, foam, or carbon dioxide (C02) extinguishers. Water is dangerous, as it spreads the fire.
Class C - Fires that are electrical fires involving heated wire, and arcing. Treated with dry chemicals or CO2 - never water, which is a conductor.
Fires in any one class may involve materials of other classes, so more than one type of extinguisher should be available. Because of the danger of lethal fumes, carbon-tetrachloride (CCl4) extinguishers must not be used.
Extinguishers should normally be mounted near a doorway and at approximately shoulder level.
References: Fire Safety merit badge pamphlet and Sea Scout Manual.
The use and handling of fireworks can be dangerous and is classified by most safety and fire prevention experts as a hazardous activity.
The policy of the Boy Scouts of America is to prohibit the securing, use, and display of fireworks in conjunction with programs and activities, except where the fireworks display is conducted under the auspices of a certified or licensed fireworks control expert.
Local councils may not authorize any group or chartered unit activity for or on behalf of its members, units, or district to sell fireworks as a fundraising or money-earning activity.
No tent material is completely fireproof, and it can burn when exposed to continued intense heat or fire. In 1973, the Boy Scouts of America requested that the Canvas Production Association respond to the need to develop better flame-retardant tents. Since 1975, all tents available through the Boy Scouts of America Supply Division are made to CPAI-84 flame-retardant specifications. Regardless of any material's flammability, the most important safeguard is to keep flames away from canvas materials. For this reason, the following safety precautions are emphasized:
- Only flashlights and electric lanterns are permitted in tents. No flames in tents is a rule that must be enforced.
- Liquid fuel stoves, heaters, lanterns, lighted candles, matches, and other flame sources such as charcoal grills should never be used in or near tents.
- Do not pitch tents near an open fire.
- Do not use flammable chemicals near tents-charcoal lighter, spray cans of paint, bug killer or repellent.
- Be careful when using electricity and lighting in tents.
- Always extinguish cooking campfires promptly.
- Obey all fire laws, ordinances, and regulations.
The above statement is reproduced and printed in the following Scouting publications: Fieldbook, Troop Committee Guidebook, Scoutmaster Handbook, and the following merit badge pamphlets - Camping, Fire Safety, Hiking, and Safety.
Primary reference: Camp Health and Safety, No. 19-308. Additional reference: Camp Program and Property Management (Managing the Council Outdoor Program, Section I).
Knowledgeable adult supervision must be provided when Scouts are involved in the storage of chemical fuels, the handling of chemical fuels in the filling of stoves or lanterns, replacement of canisters or tanks, or the lighting of chemical fuels following the safety instructions of the device provided by the manufacturer.
Use of liquid fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited. The solid types of starters are recommended for this purpose. Use of space heaters and similar devices in buildings must be with adequate ventilation, under adult supervision following the manufacturer's safety precautions. Devices of this type must never be used in tents.
Primary reference: Camp Health and Safety, No. 19-308. Additional references: Backpacking merit badge pamphlet, Fieldbook, Camp Program and Property Management (Managing the Council Outdoor Program, Section 1), Scoutmaster Handbook, Tours and Expeditions, and Unit Fireguard Chart.
Be aware that airline policies differ regarding the transportation of camping stoves and fuel (i.e. kerosene, gasoline, butane or propane). You should always double check airline policy and restrictions before committing to an airline for the shipment of stoves and fuel. As a minimum, the stoves will be required to be completely purged prior to shipment. Fines for not meeting a single regulation can be as high as $25,000. This penalty also will apply if a person packs fuel in luggage and it is discovered by airline personnel. To be on the safe side, purchase fuel at your destination. If you intend to ship stoves or fuel, check then recheck with the airline to insure you have met all applicable regulations. "Keep in mind that the inspection station attendant servicing each airline has final authority over what goes on the plane, and this may vary from the airline's official policy."
First aid-the first help or immediate care given someone who has suddenly taken sick or has been hurt in an accident. First-aid training continues through the program of the Boy Scouts of America as concrete evidence that we are prepared to help others in need.
We strongly recommend that adult leaders in Scouting avail themselves of first-aid training by the American Red Cross to be aware of the latest techniques and procedures. We do remind you, however, that some of the first-aid techniques found in our literature are not the same as those professed by the American Red Cross. Frequently modifications depend upon the Scout's age - this could be a factor in his judgment and his physical dexterity.
Most of us are concerned about the rapid spread of HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and try to avoid exposing ourselves to this hazard. Health professionals and amateur first-aiders like those of us in Scouting may find ourselves faced with special problems in this regard. Therefore, we must know how to act and how to instruct the youth we lead.
Until recently, BSA first aid manuals and handbooks advocated direct hand pressure to stop bleeding in injuries. This action could involve getting the victim's blood on the rescuer's skin. If the rescuer has open wounds on or near his or her hands, there is the risk of mingling the blood of victim and rescuer. If the victim is infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or some other communicable disease, the rescuer could become infected with the virus.
In rescue breathing there is the risk of passing airborne infectious diseases like influenza from victim to rescuer. But BSA leaders, parents, and youth members should :mow that as of this time, there is no evidence that a rescuer can be infected by the hepatitis B virus or HIV either through contact with human saliva or by giving rescue breathing. Studies show that both hepatitis B and HIV are bloodborne ailments.
The BSA has checked with experts in the federal government's Center for Communicable Diseases and with the American Red Cross. These authorities suggest that we should
- Try to maintain the BSA's tradition of rendering first aid to those in need.
- Recognize that very often the victims we treat with first aid are friends and family members whose health we are familiar with. Therefore, in such cases, except when we know they have infectious diseases, we should not hesitate to treat them.
- Try to stop bleeding or dress wounds after protecting ourselves by wearing latex or vinyl gloves, or covering our hands with several sterile dressings or a piece of plastic wrap. Unit first-aid kits should contain these items. And first-aiders should always wash their hands immediately after treating any kind of injury, especially one involving blood or any other body fluid.
- Render rescue breathing using a mouth-barrier device. This allows the rescuer to breathe into the victim, but prevents the victim's breath passing through that same device. This device also keeps the victim's saliva from entering the rescuer's system. First-aid suppliers and many pharmacies sell this equipment. One should be in every unit first-aid kit.
- Consider equipping first-aiders with plastic goggles to prevent a victim's blood getting into the rescuer's eyes in the case of serious arterial bleeding.
BSA literature to be issued from now on will reflect these changes in first aid. All BSA leaders are asked to correct literature that describes the old methods and to direct youth members to do the same.
References: Boy Scout Handbook, Camp Health and Safety, No. 19-308, Cub Scout Leader Book, Fieldbook, and First Aid merit badge pamphlet.
This specialized skill to endeavor to revive those persons with cardiac arrest (no breathing-no pulse) may be taught to Boy Scouts and Venturers by an instructor currently trained by the American Red Cross or American Heart Association or National Safety Council. We do not recommend teaching this skill to Cub Scouts.
Preliminary skills related to CPR are found in the Boy Scout Handbook and the First Aid merit badge pamphlet (rescue breathing, choking, and steps to take for CPR).
Resident camps are required to have one staff member for every 40 campers who has been coached in first-aid practices for conditions most likely to occur in camp and who has been trained in CPR by any recognized community agency. The resident camp ranger and aquatics director must hold current certificates in CPR.
Every year nearly 8,000 people die in this country from drowning. "Drowning" is death in the water due to submersion with asphyxiation. "Near-drowning" is submersion with asphyxiation and some survival afterwards. "Dry-drowning" applies to a victim who has inhaled water with the development of laryngospasm, which leads to suffocation without water flooding the lungs. This occurs in about 10 percent of all near-drownings. These victims have fewer complications following resuscitation than typical near-drownings in which fluid is aspirated into the lungs. Twenty-five percent of all drownings are associated with aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs as well.
Breath-hold swimming underwater after hyperventilation can lead to "shallow water blackout" and drowning in swim-related athletes.
Respiratory Complications After Resuscitation of a Near-Drowning Victim Near-drowning accidents are usually witnessed, and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is delivered at the scene. Victims usually want to leave the scene quickly after a successful resuscitation. They can develop pulmonary edema (flooding of the lungs with fluid) hours later and die from an inability to get oxygen to the blood. Cough with or without bloody phlegm warns of this later complication. All near-drowning victims must be admitted to a hospital with respiratory intensive-care unit monitoring for a 24-hour observation period to watch for complications. Lung rupture can occur during the submersion or consequent to the resuscitation efforts. Pneumonia is a later complication in the fluid aspiration-injured lung. The hypothermic near-drowning victim requires special attention.
References: Nemiroff, M.J. "Near-drowning." In Hyperbaric and Undersea Medicine. San Antonio: Medical Seminars, Inc., 1981; Edmonds, Lowry, et Pennefather. "The Drowning Syndromes." In Diving and Subaquativ Medicine. Seaforth, Australia: Diving Medical Centre, 1981.
Nearly everyone has personal thoughts concerning the ingredients of a first-aid kit. Due to increased exposure from communicable diseases and as a protective device against possible exposure, first-aid kits and health centers should have latex/vinyl gloves, goggles or other eye protection, and antiseptic in their inventories to be used when giving first aid to bleeding victims. Mouthpieces or mouth barrier devices should be available for CPR. Suggestions may be found in the First Aid merit badge pamphlet, Fieldbook, Handbook for Skippers, Scoutmaster Handbook, Sea Scout Manual, and Tours and Expeditions.
This is a permanent record of first-aid care provided at any major Scout activity, such as resident summer camp, Cub Scout day camp, camporee, Scout show, Venturing olympics, or similar activities. This record should be retained in the council service center following the event for a period of at least 10 years. The BSA carries a stock item, No. 33678, that is acceptable in most states.
The Boy Scouts of America adheres to its longstanding policy of teaching its youth and adult members the safe, responsible, intelligent handling, care, and use of firearms, airguns, and BB guns, in planned, professionally managed, and supervised programs. In carrying out the mandate of the National Council to provide this vital training, the BSA will continue to welcome and encourage the participation, support, and direction of national associations and organizations that promote the safe and responsible use of firearms and airguns.
Except for law enforcement officers required to carry firearms within their jurisdiction, firearms shall not be brought on camping, hiking, backpacking, or other Scouting activities except those specifically planned for target shooting under the supervision of a certified BSA or National Rifle Association firearms instructor.
Gun-shooting sports are not an approved part of the Cub Scout program except at a council-approved Cub Scout day camp, Cub Scout resident camp, or Cub Scout family camp. At camp, Cub Scouts may have an opportunity to take part in a BB-gun (rifle) safety and marksmanship program under the direction of a certified BB-gun range officer.
Cub Scouts are not permitted to use any other type of handgun or firearm.
Primary reference: Camp Program and Property Management (Shooting Sports, Section V). Additional references: Cub Scout Day Camp; Resident Camping for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, and Parents; Cub Scout Leader Book; and Guide to Safe Scouting.
Boy Scouts are permitted to fire .22 caliber bolt-action, single-shot rifles, air rifles, shotguns, and muzzle loading long guns under the direction of a certified instructor, 21 years of age or older, within the standards outlined in current Scouting literature and bulletins. BSA policy does not permit the use of handguns in the Boy Scouting program.
References: Camp Health and Safety, No. 19-308, and Camp Program and Property Management (Shooting Sports, Section V).
The following guidelines relate to the use of handguns within the program of the Boy Scouts of America:
- Handgun use is limited to the Venturing program only.
- All training and shooting activities must be under the supervision of an NRA- certified pistol instructor or the firearms instructor of a local, state, or federal agency.
- All participants must complete a basic pistol marksmanship course prior to range firing. The NRA basic pistol marksmanship course (or equivalent training course) conducted by a law enforcement agency, a civilian gun club, or a U.S. military department is acceptable.
- The Venturing handgun shooting "Range Operation Outline" must be used in conjunction with the basic pistol marksmanship training. This outline is available from the Venturing Division (at the national office).
- With the approval of the local council, handgun shooting may be conducted on BSA camp ranges provided the shooting is done under the auspices of an NRA-certified pistol instructor or firearms instructor of a local, state, or federal agency.
- Care must be taken to comply with federal, state, and local laws.
The following standards are established for rifles to be used in Boy Scouting:
- Breech-loading rifles will be single-shot, bolt-action of the .22 caliber rim-fire type only. They may be chambered for the .22 short or .22 long rifle, but not for the .22 WRF (which is a more powerful cartridge). Air rifles are also permitted.
- Semi-automatic rifles will not be permitted.
- Repeating rifles having a tubular magazine will not be permitted.
- Repeating rifles having a removable clip-type magazine will be permitted but must be used as single-loaders.
- All rifles used in BSA shooting sports shall have a "trigger pull" in excess of 3 pounds, and shall be tested with a 3 pound weight or scale at least once a week while in use. If the trigger mechanism is activated by the 3 pound pull, the rifle should be immediately removed from service.
- Shooting safety glasses and ear protectors must be worn on the range.
- All training and shooting activities must be supervised by a currently NRA-certified rifle instructor or coach who is 21 years of age or older.
Primary reference: Camp Program and Property Management (Shooting Sports, Section V). Additional reference: Rifle Shooting merit badge pamphlet.
The following standards are established for shotguns to be used by Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Venturers:
- It is recommended that either 20-, 16-, or 12-gauge semi-automatic shotguns be used. Gas operated shotguns are recommended.
- Ammunition containing No. 8 shot or smaller is recommended on ranges with a protected down range of 600 feet. Additional down range distance of 150 feet (total 750) is required for No. 6 shot size. Shot larger than No. 6 is not to be used.
- Shooting safety glasses and ear protectors must be worn on shotgun ranges.
- All training and shooting activities must be supervised by a currently NRA-certified shotgun instructor or coach who is 21 years of age or older.
Primary reference: Camp Program and Property Management (Shooting Sports, Section V).
The following standards for muzzle-loading long guns are to be used by members of the BSA:
- Muzzle-loading rifles must be recently manufactured, percussion only. BSA recommends .45 or .50 caliber. Rifles made from kits must be checked by an expert gunsmith.
- Recommended loads of .FFFg blackpowder are not to exceed 1 grain per caliber. One-half of this amount is frequently sufficient for target shooting.
- Shooting safety glasses and ear protectors must be worn.
- All training and shooting activities must be supervised by a currently certified NRA/NMLRA muzzle-loading rifle instructor over 21 years of age.
- Each pupil must have one instructor or adult coach under instructor supervision when loading and firing.
Primary reference: Camp Program and Property Management (Shooting Sports, Section V).
The chief instructor must be at least 21 years of age and must hold current instructor certification in the specific firearm in which he/she is giving supervision or training (rifle, shotgun, pistol, muzzle-loading rifle, muzzle-loading shotgun, muzzle-loading pistol) issued by the National Rifle Association of its equivalent as defined in the Camp Program and Property Management (Shooting Sports, Section V). The chief instructor or an assistant instructor 21 years of age or older and holding instructor certification will be in charge of the firing line and will not leave while anyone is on the firing line or the range flag is flying.
It is recommended that no more than eight Scouts be permitted to fire breech-loader rifles at any one time under any one instructor or assistant instructor.
Assistant instructors may be as young as 18 years of age and must hold at least an assistant instructor's certificate issued by the National Rifle Association.
A camp postal rifle match program is available with instant recognition for participants in long-term summer camps. Immediate recognition is provided weekly to winners in each participating council camp. National recognition is provided to top scorers in each division (Junior - first year camper; Senior - seasoned camper) in each participating camp and overall top scorers. For additional information, contact the director, Boy Scout Camping/Conservation Service.
Source: BSA Health and Safety Guide #33415B - 2000 Printing