Re: Liquid fuels (Switzerland)
Danny Schwendener (macman@BERNINA.ETHZ.CH)
Mon, 18 May 1992 18:47:05 +0200
In Switzerland, knowing how to choose a good location, build a safe
fireplace and light a fire with moist wood are a requirement for
first star advancement in cub scouting(!). The idea behind this is
accident prevention. It just happens too often that a house burns down
because two children were playing with matches, or that a forest fire
destroys whole acres of pine trees because of untrained people.
We're using wood only because there is plenty of it in Switzerland.
I had a camp with my cubs above the treeline last fall, and we brought
wood with us (we bought it in the valley). Of course, things would be
different if we were staying in New Mexico.
My advice to kids is: never ever use liquid fuel lighters. If you can't
get around it, use solid fuel lighters. My advice to cub scout leaders
is: don't EVER light a fire with fuel lighters in front of the kids.
You're setting the example, so set it correctly. Kids often don't
realize the (explosive) difference between, say, petrol and gasoline.
I worked in a center for burned children at the University Hospital of
Zurich for a couple of weeks. Most of the patients were victims of accidents
that could have easily been prevented. An example: two boys filled
a cup with gasoline and set it on fire, because they wanted to see
"the flame burst". The burst was strong enough to kick the cup over and
the burning gasoline splashed all over the kids' faces and bodies.
These kids are now brandmarked for the rest of their life. They will
undergo several major chirurgical operations and well over twenty
cosmetical operations. But even with the best cosmetical surgery,
the scars will remain visible enough to anihilate their
chances of getting a job that involves contacts with customers, and
reduce their chances by 50% of getting a job in a team. People will
stare at them when they walk in the streets. And they must be very
lucky if they ever get a girlfriend.
You cannot prevent kids from playing with fire. But you can channel
their natural passion. Teach the kids to ask an adult for permission
before they light a fire or play with fireworks or matches. If you
explain them why, even a five-year old will understand it (trust me).
-- Danny Schwendener email@example.com
Wolfsmeute Nidau/Glockenhof, Zurich, Switzerland
m.h.c. Troop 14, San Francisco
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City