Fire gives us light, warmth, toasted marshmallows and dazzling fireworks, but knowing how to work with fire responsibly is essential to avoiding injuries and serious damage. The Fire Safety Activity Badges are a great way for Cub Scouts and Scouts to learn fire safety skills, but these skills aren’t only important for these sections; everyone, from Beaver Scouts to Scout Network members, should have a good grasp of fire safety, whether they are backwoods cooking or building a Swedish fire torch.
For training and safety advice on fire lighting (and training others on fire lighting), take a look at the Scout Adventures resources, which includes campfire safety requirements too.
You can also download the safety factsheets for more support on how to respond to risky situations. These factsheets include details on managing fire safety, as well as examples of a fire safety action list, a fire risk assessment management document and a fire safety checklist.
Here are a few ideas to help you support young people to develop their fire safety skills.
Beavers – Safety Activity Badge
As part of their Safety Activity Badge, Beavers need to learn what to do if there is a fire and how to respond to a fire drill at the meeting place. Why not get some professional input by asking if any parents or carers within the Group work for the fire services? Perhaps they’d be willing to chat to the Group about the work the Fire and Rescue Service does?
It could also be worth seeing if your local fire brigade offers any support or resources. Many fire services (including the London Fire Brigade, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service) provide games and colouring sheets online.
Help your Beavers to learn while doing by roasting marshmallows together. This BEAR nibbles activity sheet is a great base to work from.
Cub Scouts – Fire Safety Activity Badge for Cub Scouts
One of the most valuable parts of Scouting is the way it gives young people skills they can use every day. These skills include learning how to make and use fire safely – be it striking a match or lighting a candle.
Cub Scouts working towards their Fire Safety Activity Badge will learn about the wide range of services that the Fire and Rescue Service assists with. For example, along with putting out fires they also help in road traffic accidents and conduct safety inspections at homes.
Taking part in a fire drill is another requirement for Cub Scouts working towards their badge. These drills highlight the hazards of fire and the importance of implementing the correct safety precautions. Through this young people will see the importance of smoke detectors.
Cub Scouts should also familiarise themselves with safety around the campfire, a bonfire and fireworks. You can find useful guidance to support Cubs fulfil this requirement in this firework safety blog. It explains how to behave around a bonfire and fireworks, and provides some useful notes for leaders. For further campfire safety support, this Scout Adventures resource is worth a look.
Support your young people to learn while having fun with this sparkler activity. (Take a look at this safety guidance around fireworks and sparklers first). All you’ll need is a camera and some sparklers.
On a dark and dry evening, get outdoors with your young people and ask them to stand in a line, facing the camera, holding one sparkler each. Explain that they are all each going to write one different letter of a word at the same time using their lit sparkler.
For example, they’ll need three Cub Scouts to write f-u-n, four to write c-u-b-s, etc. Remind them that they’ll need to write the letters backwards so that the camera reflects the words the correct way. This adds to the fun and challenge of it all.
Bear in mind that some Cub Scouts might not like sparklers or aren’t yet used to them. Why not support them to practise this activity using glow sticks first and then progressing onto sparklers?
Cooking on fires is a great way to introduce Scouts to their Fire Safety Activity Badge. Why not show them how to make a pizza over the fire with this Scout Adventures recipe? Or take a look at this camp cooking badge support blog for further activity ideas and safety guidance.
Scouts working towards these badges will need to find out what to do if they discover a fire has broken out at home or camp. They’ll need to know why they’re taking these actions by forming a good understanding of the process of combustion, and the effects of smoke and heat.
Becoming aware of fire hazards in the home is another important part of earning this badge. They should know the necessary fire precautions around a range of home appliances and domestic activities, from oil heaters and electric wires to the safe use of BBQs and gas stoves. Remember, whenever using gas stoves it’s important to consult this safety guidance.
Scouts will also need to learn about fire extinguisher varieties and when to use which. They should learn what to do if a person’s clothes are on fire or there is a fire at home. These skills are potentially lifesaving, but getting the correct information is essential. Fire safety guidance online is a good start but for a fuller understanding, young people might like to take part in a course at their local fire station.
Explorer Scouts and Scout Network members
Explorer Scouts can brush up on their fire safety skills by building a Swedish fire torch in the outdoors. It’s not only a useful survival skill but also will help to get Explorer Scouts thinking about how fire works, which is a great way to lead into discussions about what to do in the event of a fire.
To facilitate this activity take a look at this guidance on how to build a Swedish fire torch and make use of the fire safety factsheets to deliver safety tips.
For Explorer Scouts and Scout Network members planning events on bonfire night or planning any other activities where fire will be present, they’ll need to have a firm grasp of fire safety, in order to do full risk assessments and pass the right safety guidance on to relevant people volunteering at or attending the event.
For further risk management tips on bonfire nights, here are some tips from Unity (Scout Insurance Services). For more activity inspiration and support, visit Programmes Online or the Scout Adventures resources.