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House on Fire!

If you discover a house on fire you should:

  • 1st - Alarm the people inside.
  • 2nd - Warn the nearest policeman or fire station.
  • 3rd - Rouse neighbours to bring ladders, mattresses, carpets, to catch people jumping.

After the arrival of the fire engines the best thing boys can do is to help the police in keeping back the crowd out of the way of the firemen.

If it is necessary to go into a house to search for feeble or insensible people, the thing is to place a wet handkerchief or cloth over your nose and mouth and walk in a stooping position, or crawl along on your hands and knees quite near the floor, as it is here that there is least smoke or gas. Also, for passing through fire and sparks, get hold of a blanket, if you can, and wet it, and cut a hole in the middle through which to put your head; it forms a kind of spark-proof mantle with which you can push through flames and sparks.

When a fire occurs anywhere near, Scouts should assemble their Patrols as quickly as possible and go off at Scout's Pace guided by the glare or the smoke. Then the Patrol Leader should report to the police or firemen, and offer the help of his Patrol either to form a line to keep the crowd back, or to run messages, or guard property, or to help in any way.

If you find a person with his clothes on fire, you should throw him flat on the floor, because flames only burn upwards, then roll him up in a rug or carpet, coat or blanket. Take care in doing so that you don't catch fire yourself. The reason for doing this is that fire cannot continue to burn where it has no air.

When you find an insensible person (in his fright he may have hidden himself under a bed or table), you should either carry him out on your shoulder, or, what is often more practicable in the case of heavy smoke or gas fumes, harness yourself on to him with sheets or cords and drag him out of the room along the floor, crawling on all fours yourself.

To do this you make a bowline at each end of your rope; one you put over the patient's chest and under his arms, and the other over your own neck. Then with your back to his head you start on all fours to pull him along head first. If the bowline is the right length it will keep his head up off the ground, as the picture above shows.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Rescue from Drowning

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Rescue from Fire

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