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Curtis Ware
(ware_curtis) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/10/2010 11:00:54 MST Print View

So I was asked last night at Roundtable about "legality" of alcohol stoves.

Here is the verbage from G2SS: "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, or the lighting of chemical fuels. The use of liquid fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited."

So what is the feeling of the group?

Below is link to what I pass out when we discuss stoves at Venture Meeting.
http://crew370.com/backpacking/backpacking/alcohol%20stove%20safety.pdf


BTW,
I am a Venture Leader so I am dealing with older kids.

Edited by ware_curtis on 03/10/2010 11:06:34 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/10/2010 15:44:08 MST Print View

I have no problem having the Venture or Varsity scouts use a alcohol stove. In fact I teach them how to make the stoves-
They have a stove for there very own at no cost. I also bought a gallon of fuel for the troop to use.

I have tried in the past to have the 12 and 13 year old scout use them but we found through "experience" they are just to young and reckless to deal with them.
The older boys need to also be monitored, but with practice, I'd let them handle it before I'd let most of the adults. I find that alcohol stoves are less volatile then white gas and far less dangerous (flair ups)

For the younger boys we have gone to canister stoves exclusively.

The older boys have their choice- some choose canisters and some choose alcohol.

Edited by bestbuilder on 05/21/2011 17:06:31 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/10/2010 18:17:42 MST Print View

> I have tried in the past to have the 12 and 13 year old scout use them but we
> found through "experience" they are just to young and reckless to deal with them.

I sympathise, but I do wonder whether you are giving up too quickly?

To explain: I taught my two kids about fire safety at a very early age by taking them outside one night and showing them how to light a match. The proper way to hold and strike so the match didn't break. But once they had mastered that, I left them holding the match till they scorched their fingers - which they did simultaneously. No real burn mind you, but they learnt instantly! I did then explain to them immediately about the dangers. Never had another problem.

Can you set something up so they get a slightly scorched finger? Maybe alert parents beforehand that you will be teaching fire safety? Some might even be grateful.

Cheers

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/10/2010 18:27:05 MST Print View

Roger,
That is just too much!
Outstanding!

I'm glad, however, that they were never interested in ordnance.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/10/2010 18:34:11 MST Print View

Roger, yes I have done the same kind of thing with my kids. But with the scouts (at least some in my group) some lessons need to be learned over and over.
I pulled the Alcohol stoves when one boy had the sand around the stove burning better then his stove- unintentionally.
He also had a Marmot Hydrogen sleeping bag just a few feet away.
I did make for an interesting discussion afterward, but I could tell that the experience and visuals were way too tempting for the other scouts as they listened. Even though we discussed the risks and dangers of alcohol.

I also remembered my own tendencies at that age and decided against it.
Yes, I even remember lighting a "light anywhere" match by striking it off my teeth-

Edited by bestbuilder on 04/15/2010 16:34:35 MDT.

john parker
(orclwzrd) - F

Locale: Illinois
Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/10/2010 18:38:59 MST Print View

G2SS has no issues with alcohol stoves. I'm also a Boy Scout and Venturing leader. We plan on taking alcohol and white gas stoves on backpacking trips. I've got the White Box Stoves and love them. Just be careful lighting them as your notes indicate. I also learned personally that over filling and spillage are bad news. Left a nasty burn mark on that wood picnic table.

John Parker
Advisor
Crew 242

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Liquid Fuels on 03/11/2010 15:03:52 MST Print View

I personally think they are talking about not starting a campfire with liquid fuels; not a stove.

Many troops use liquid canister stoves to this day. Somehow they have to get that fuel into the canister.

I know an alcohol stove is an open flame but I don't think that is the intent of the rule.

BILL BALLOWE
(billinmt) - F - MLife

Locale: www.whiteboxstoves.com
White Box Alcohol Stove and Scouts on 03/11/2010 23:56:28 MST Print View

I've sold many dozens of my alcohol stoves to Boy Scout troops and never have I had a complaint. As long as proper instruction and supervision is given the boys they learn super fast that you can have a big problem if you don't pay attention to what you are doing. Leaders need to stress the importance of safety with the stoves and it doesn't matter what type of stove you have...they can all be dangerous if misused.

Bill @ White Box Stoves

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/12/2010 04:53:42 MST Print View

Curtis, your written guide is excellent. We too have used alcohol stoves with older boys. My own experience with 11-13 year old boys is that they sometimes lack the focus needed to handle them safely. There are many skills that are being taught on a weekend backpacking trip. Cooking is only one aspect of the outing.

We have the younger boys use canister stoves for backpacking. As with any stove we have direct adult supervision when they light a stove.

I don't see a G2SS issue with your approach at all. As others have mentioned many troops use white gasoline stoves. Using any stove should be supervised by adults.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 03/17/2010 08:48:56 MDT Print View

Apparently, G2SS will ban homemade stoves and alcohol will be a not recommended fuel with the next revision. I just learned this was discussed last summer. See the last few posts of this thread to get the relevant link to MyScouting (you may need to register to see it?).

Edited by topshot on 03/17/2010 08:49:48 MDT.

Frank Steele
(knarfster) - F

Locale: Arizona
unintentionally on 03/24/2010 09:07:26 MDT Print View

LOL

"I pulled the Alcohol stoves when one boy had the sand around the stove burning better then his stove- unintentionally."

I have a couple of boys in my troop that you couldn't use the word "unintentionally" with. I know they would have something other than the stove burning in no time at all.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 04/15/2010 14:54:27 MDT Print View

Indeed, the latest GSS lists alcohols as not recommended fuels and the various can stoves are specifically prohibited. One MAY try to use the "commercially manufactured" loophole for those bought from a cottage shop. Sigh.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Liquid fuel stoves and kids on 04/15/2010 15:31:17 MDT Print View

I wouldn't let the younger ones use them-- lets say under 14 or so. Any fuel left over on your hands is going to go up and spills on clothing are really bad news. Some concern should be shown for getting near a fire with alocohol based hand cleaner too. The next issue is visibility of the flame.

With a formal organization, some extra care is needed with liability issues. As far as kids using home-grown stoves, I can see the lawyers lined up from here to take a shot at the maker/seller. Anybody making stoves for sale needs a BIG liability insurance policy, and I'll bet you can't buy one.

Would I be worried about my own kids using an alcohol pop-can stove? Yes, but it depends on the kid and their mechanical smarts and sense of self-preservation.

Then we get into some Smart Alec playing with the fuel itself..... not good.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 04/15/2010 15:43:20 MDT Print View

I note several things about the document:

1) It is clear that all home made stoves are prohibited. They explicitly list home made alcohol stoves as an example.

2) Alcohol fuel is "not Recommended", but I do not see that it is "Prohibited", as home made stoves are. So it sounds to me as if you can use commercial alcohol stoves without violating their policy, although you will be doing something they do not recommend.

3) If you are going to strictly adhere to their policy, don't overlook "During transport and storage, properly secure chemical fuel containers in an upright, vertical position." :)) (Perhaps this was written by a car-camper, not a backpacker?)

-----

That said, I am in strongly favor of cooking over wood fires, especially for younger scouts, as long as you are in an area where gathering wood and making a fire is an acceptable activity. My concerns are:
* If younger scouts are using stoves, they will never learn to build fires in adverse conditions.
* Doing non-trivial cooking over a wood fire is a skill that is only learned through practice.

Remembering back to my own Scout days, I have always been grateful we were never allowed to use stoves. The reason is that having to build a wood fire in whatever weather one is out in, and then use it, is the best (only?) way to gain real solid fire-building skills.

Yes, I know that doing so takes a lot of time. Yes, I know that pot black is messy. Yes, I know that everything ends up smelling like woodsmoke. I still feel that, in terms of skill-building it is well worth it.

I hope I am not stepping on any toes, but I believe that allowing Scouts to use stoves prior to mastering the above skills is short-changing their Scouting experience.

(Note: the above may not apply to certain Venture Scout activities -- ones where the trip, not skill-building, is the goal.)

-- MV

Edited by blean on 04/15/2010 16:13:52 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re Safety on 04/15/2010 16:11:14 MDT Print View

You know, all this seems really weird to me, for several reasons.

How on earth are Boy Scout going to learn without experience? In fact, I'll suggest that it is impossible to teach fire safety without every kid getting scorched fingers at least once. It is just not possible for the young male to learn any other way!

How are Boy scouts going to prepare hot meals if they don't use some sort of flame? It can be just as dangerous lighting a wood fire (usually far too big) as lighting a stove? Surely cooking dinner is an integral part of Scouting?

Do the people writing these rules have any idea of what they are talking about? Personally I doubt it. If you let lawyers run the organisation you might as well give up and go home. Fight back!

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 04/15/2010 16:14:18 MDT Print View

Hi Tad

> But with the scouts some lessons need to be learned over and over.
Yes. So teach them!

> Even though we discussed the risks and dangers of alcohol.
Wrong approach. 'Discussion' does not work with young males. Let them burn their fingers a few times. Warn them beforehand of course - that way the lesson is obvious.

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 04/15/2010 16:17:16 MDT Print View

I have one other question:

Do they really believe the same policy is appropriate for an 11-year-old tenderfoot Scout and a 17-year-old Venture Scout?

Not only are those two of very different maturities (usually), but they are probably going on trips with markedly different goals.

-- MV

Edited by blean on 04/15/2010 16:19:05 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Alcohol Stove Safety on 04/15/2010 17:17:01 MDT Print View

"The use of liquid fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited."

Seems real clear to me they're saying "Don't use gas to start a campfire."

As a 10 or 11-year old Scout I had my own canister stove and used it regularly on our backpacking trips. Kids of any age need to learn how to use things safely and properly. If the kids in someone's troop are too out of control, sounds like a lot of other problems. But perhaps you could include a stove safety certification as a requirement for using a stove. Back in the day we had a tote n' chip or something that was basically a Scout permit to use cutting tools. If you can't demonstrate safe use of the tools, you can't use them. Maybe try the same thing. But this all seems off the topic of the main statement in question...