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 poisons at home. Many items, such as medicines. cleaning products & plants in your home can be poisons to children.
But the main cause of children's deaths from poisoning is vitamin pills with iron. A child can die after swallowing as few as five of these pills.
Some dangerous medicines are:
  • diet pills stimulants--pills to help you stay awake
  • decongestants--pills that help clear a stuffy nose
  • other medicines, like those that treat depression or high blood pressure

Some dangerous household products are:

  • art supplies
  • dishwasher detergent, bleach, and ammonia
  • petrol, kerosene, paint thinners, antifreeze
  • beer, wine and liquor other products with alcohol, like mouthwash, aftershave and colognes
  • houseplants

Poison Proof Your Home To protect your child:
  • Close containers right after you use them.
  • Make sure child-resistant caps are on right.
  • Keep vitamins, medicines, cleaners, and other dangerous products in the containers they came in. Don't store these products in cups, soft-drink bottles, or milk cartons. Children may think they are OK to eat or drink.
  • Keep those containers where children can't reach or even see them.
  • Buy only art supplies labeled as safe (nontoxic) for children.
  • Learn the Symptoms of Poisoning
If you see an open or spilled bottle of pills or other dangerous product, your child may be poisoned.
An important sign of poisoning is when children who were well develop unusual symptoms:
  • They're sleepy even though it's not nap time.
  • They can't follow you with their eyes.
  • Their eyes go around in circles.
  • They have burns or stains around the mouth.
  • Their breath smells strange.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Poisoning? If you think a child has swallowed, breathed in, or touched poison, call the poison control centre or your doctor right away. Post their numbers near your phone. The nearest poison control centre should be listed with other emergency numbers at the beginning of your phone book.
In Australia - Poisons Information Centre - call 13-1126

If you can, tell them:

  • the name of the poison
  • the way the poison was taken--swallowed, breathed-in, or splashed on the skin or in the eyes
  • if your child has vomited
  • your child's age, height and weight
  • any health problems your child may have
  • If you are told to go to the hospital emergency room, take the poison with you.


Discuss what to do at home in the case of an electrical storm. The basic things to do are to turn off and unplug your TV, Computer etc, and not make or answer telephone calls during the storm. This is because a lightning strike to power wires could cause a surge through the power wires in your home - which could blow up electrical items like the computer, or electrocute people using them (especially phones).
Further info on how to stay safe during a storm
Storms are a common cause of power failure. Strong winds can cause branches from trees and other debris to fall across powerlines, interrupting the supply of electricity to homes and businesses.
It is important that people prepare for storms, particularly before the storm season.
A "Prepare for storms" checklist
  • Keep a torch and a battery-operated radio handy to listen for power restoration updates.
  • Secure loose items in your yard that may become airborne in high winds.
  • Check that the powerline (if you have one) to your house is clear from trees in your front yard – call the local energy supply company if you are concerned.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches but do not attempt to cut trees near powerlines.
  • Report tree branches in or around powerlines to the local energy supply company.
  • Keep spare batteries for your torch and radio on hand.
During the storm - Stay away from trees, poles and transformers.
After the storm - Inspect outside and around your home for damage, especially if any powerlines have been brought down.
If lines are down do not go near them, call the police on 000 immediately and ensure other people stay clear of the fallen powerlines.


Demonstrate the safety rules you need to consider when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or roller-blading. Show you can use this equipment safely. HAVE a “Bring your bike” day or pack-night and cover this aspect. Maybe the Cyclist Achievement Badge can be done an the same day activity.


Show three methods you could use to help someone who fell into deep water and could not swim. A convenient time to do this is when at a pool for a carnival or pool-night.
In order to assist someone who is drowning, tell the person who is in trouble to remain calm and that you are there to help them. Quickly look for any type of float or floatation device to toss to the victim. If one is unavailable, try to extend a rope or pole for them to grab onto. DO NOT try to pull them to the shore while standing, as it is likely they could pull you in as well, so lay down - this usually gets you closer to them as well.
If a float, rope, or pole cannot be secured and used to help assist the victim to safety, then and only then enter the water to personally assist them. Personally entering the water to save a drowning victim is to be used as a last resort as it jeopardizes the lives of both the rescuer and the person needing assistance.
If several people, (but no rope etc) are available, it is safer (althought much wetter) to form a chain of people, all holding the WRISTS of the persons next to them, until the final person can reach the person in trouble.
People who are drowning are generally panicking, and possess unusual strength and power. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the victim unintentionally pulling under and drowning the rescuer. If you do enter the water, repeat firmly to the victim to remain calm and stop fighting the water. Encourage them to hold onto you and float on their backs. By floating on their backs, the water will help buoy them, which will make it easier for you to pull them to safety. If a person continues to panic and their violent thrashing begins to pull you under, try to break free from their grasp so you can regain your strength and leverage in the water. Once you have recovered, again attempt to rescue them by repeating the need for them to remain calm and to float on their backs as you pull them to safety.


Explain what you should do to make sure you don’t get lost in the bush. and what to do if something goes wrong. 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 the dangers in the bush that are appropriate to your area eg) weather, terrain, and poisonous creatures. In the Sydney area, sudden cold, wind & rain is not uncommon, especially in the cooler months. There are also many steep areas of bush to be careful of, especially in the Royal Natioanal Park, where some coastal tracks run very close to the edge of sea-cliffs . The two tyoes of creatures to worry about are Spiders (eg Funnelwebs) and Snakes (eg red belly blacks).


Discuss ways to reduce the dangers that cause fires in the home and 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 etc near the fire.
  • Ensure your fire is out before sleeping or moving on.
  • Never leave the fire unattended.
  • 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 from by a cigarette or match. If it does, the fire spread is often very rapid, and the smoke and fumes allow little time for escape.


Discuss what to do when you do not feel safe when with a particular person. This can be when with an adult or with another child, and the “not feeling safe” can vary from visible physical danger to emotional/gut feeling that the person does not have your best interests at heart. Of course there is also the unease when the other person is trying to get you to do things that you know you should not or do not want to.
NOTE - This is not the same as your being unhappy about a person in charge trying to get you to complete a challenge that you are finding hard (eg, climbing a rock wall, tying a hard knot, wash up after a camp meal etc).
The best thing to do in the situation referred to in the question is to get away from that situation as quickly as you can, or get another person that you trust or a friend to be there with you. However, depending on the environment you are in, it is feasible to simply tell the person in question that you are not comfortable with what is happening. This option can work for both of the types of danger above.



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