Part 2 – Safety

(Responsibility for Self)

Buddy System
Explain the Buddy System. HAVE A GOLD level cub explain to a Bronze, and then the bronze can explain to a leader (this method covers both levels in one go).
The buddy system is a procedure in which two people, “the buddies”, operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other. In adventurous or dangerous activities, where the buddies are often equals, the main benefit of the system is improved safety: each may be able to prevent the other becoming a casualty or rescue the other in a crisis. When this system is used as part of training or the induction of newcomers to an organisation, the less experienced buddy learns more quickly from close and frequent contact with the experienced buddy than when operating alone. This concept is also applicable to minimise tool setup time.
The buddy system is used in:
  • The US armed forces, referred to by various names in each branch ("Wingmen" in the Air Force, "Battle Buddies" in the Army, "Shipmates" in the Navy)
  • Scuba-diving, where it is called buddy-diving
  • Firefighting, where it is called the two-in, two-out principle.
  • and of course, Scouting


Discuss the causes of accidents at home – especially in the kitchen, bathroom and on stairways
  • Falls account for over 40% of all home accidental injuries to children.
  • Collisions with a person or object are the second most common cause.
  • Swallowing, inhaling etc of an object
  • Burns and scalds, with scalds from hot drinks being the most common cause.
  • Suspected poisonings from medicines, household cleaners, DIY or gardening chemicals. (9/10 involve children under 5).
  • NOTE- Most accidents happen in the lounge/living/dining room – probably reflecting where children spend most of their indoor time.
  • The next most common places in the home for accidents to happen are: the kitchen, bedroom and stairs.
  • There are potential hazards within every home such as hot water, household chemicals, stairs, fireplaces, matches, alcohol and sharp objects such as knives or scissors. The design of houses can also contribute to accidents. Features such as balconies, spiral or open staircases, ponds, glass doors or open plan kitchens can all increase the risk of accidents happening.


Take an adult for a walk and show that you know how to be safe on the roads. This can be part of another activity or just as a small group during a “Boomerang session”.
As the requirement is to “take a walk”, then do just that!


Discuss the dangers of swimming in the type of water in your area. Many swimming accidents are due to STRONG CURRENTS. A swimming hole that is safe at low flows may be unsafe at high flows. Stop and think every time you go! Do not assume that, because it was safe last summer or last week, that it is safe now! If it looks unsafe for your skill level, DO NOT GO IN!
Do not go in if you see any tree branches or other debris in the water. Do not let peer pressure get you into a situation you cannot deal with. Each time, wade in gradually and check the current as you go. Do not jump in until you have checked both the depth AND the current first. NEVER dive in head first.
Large rivers have hidden currents below the surface - assume large rivers are NEVER safe to swim regardless of how calm they look on the surface.
  • Dive headfirst (risks of paralysis or death)
  • Swim alone
  • Go barefoot (glass, sharp rocks)
  • Stand directly under a water fall (rocks can wash over falls)
  • Swim in upper pools of a waterfall (you could wash over falls)
  • Climb above or alongside a waterfall (many deaths from this)
  • Try to stand up in strong currents (feet get trapped in bottom rocks and current holds you down.) Instead, float on your back with feet downstream until current subsides.

Not everyone is swimming or playing in the water before they drown. Over 50% of those who drown were able to swim; it is easy to over estimate your ability and stamina. Sudden emersion in cold water can kill good swimmers as well as non-swimmers. Diving into shallow water and striking the bottom may result in serious spinal cord injuries, possibly with complete paralysis below the site of the injury. It is most important that children and adults understand the dangers and the measures to be taken to avoid accidents.


Explain the dangers of inflatable toys in open water. Inflatable airbeds or large inflatable toys on the sea can easily be blown away. Your body weight in the water may not be enough to stop the effect of the wind. Wave and rip currents also can easily drag you where you do not want to go.


Explain what you should do to make sure you don’t get lost in the bush.
  1. Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. Make sure that when you do get back you let them know so that they don't call out the cavalry.
  2. Be prepared. Know where you are going, take a map, and give the details to a responsible adult who is not going with you. They can “raise the alarm” if you are not back in time. Even if you are only going for a day walk take a torch (to signal rescuers), some matches (to light a signal fire), enough food and water for at least two days, some warm clothing and a small mirror for signalling rescuers.


Discuss what to do if you do get lost in the bush.
  • As soon as you know that you are lost stop everything. If it is getting dark you are far better to set up a camp in the remaining light rather than stumbling through thick vegetation trying to find your way out.
  • Try to build a fire to keep you warm.
  • Try to build a shelter of some description to protect you from the elements.
  • If you are travelling in a car and it breaks down, stay with it. There are many, many documented cases of people dying in isolated places because they have left their car. The search teams found the car but not the missing person.
  • As soon as the sun comes up try to find an open place where you could be seen from the air. Creek beds are excellent for this if you are in thick vegetation. Search helicopters generally traverse waterways first of all when looking for missing people.
  • Build a signal fire with lots of damp leaves to ensure that the fire produces a lot of smoke.
  • Ration your food and water. Try to make it last as long as you can.
  • If you are in a hot climate keep movement to a minimum especially during daylight hours.
  • Be patient. If someone knows that you are missing help is on the way.


Discuss the dangers that fire can cause in the home and in the bush OUTDOORS (in the bush)
  • Leaves and debris should be cleared from around a fireplace BEFORE lighting your fire.
  • Overhanging branches should be avoided.
  • Avoid stacking wood or flammable material near the fire.
  • Ensure your fire is out before sleeping or moving on.
  • Never leave the fire unattended.

In the home:


  • All sources of fire and heat should be carefully watched to avoid the possibility of ignition.
  • Overloading electric double adaptors and power boards - eg with high voltage appliances like heaters - can overheat wiring and start a fire.
  • Do not run electrical cords under carpet or lino - they can be damaged and start a fire.
  • Gas and air make an explosive mixture - make sure you are ready to light the gas stove or heater before you turn on the gas.
  • Open doors and windows to get rid of the gas.
  • The kitchen is one of the most hazardous locations in your home. Stoves, ovens and electrical appliances are all potential fire hazards.
  • Do not leave towels or washing over the stove to dry.
  • Never leave the kitchen when using fat or cooking oil.
  • If a frying pan fire occurs, use a damp teatowel, wooden chopping board or pot lid to smother the flame.
  • Garages and sheds often contain fire safety hazards.
  • Get rid of flammable rubbish, such as oily rags, and open containers of oil or solvents.
  • Never store chemicals, such as chlorine, where they can come into contact with other chemicals.
  • Petrol, kero and other flammable liquids must be kept in approved containers and clearly labelled.
  • Nearly all modern upholstered furniture is filled with polyurethane foam. It can very easily catch fire. If it does, the fire spread is often very rapid, and the smoke and fumes allow little time for escape.
  • Furniture could be ignited by a cigarette or match, so be careful with all smokers' material.


Show what to do if you are in a fire at home. THIS CAN BE PLAYED as a game (Eg Compass Game) with extra option call – FIRE – get low and crawl to the exit.


Discuss why you should not go places by yourself. Some guideline ideas..
  • Do not run errands or do favors for people, unless your parents say it is OK to do so.
  • If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable, or ask you to do anything you do not approve of, you are allowed to say NO !
  • Never accept items such as lollies, money, pictures, or any other objects from anyone.
  • Never go near a car, especially if someone is inside of that car.
  • Do not work, sell or distribute things for others, unless you have your parent’s permission to do so.
While out Playing:
  • Do not play around ponds, streams, creeks, rivers, caves or other remote areas.
  • Do not play on/around electric power poles/lines, and cable TV or telephone lines.
  • Do not go near railway tracks, trains etc.
  • Never play in or near abandoned storage tanks or containers, refrigerators, water towers, abandoned buildings, construction equipment or hazardous areas.
  • Never play with (or touch) dangerous things like matches, guns, knives, or other hazardous objects


© 2008 Ian Moggs - rights are given for copying and printing for personal use or use in cub-scout or similar groups.