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JMHawkins

Why does G2SS prohibit DIY alcohol stoves?

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Yah, lots of times these things become part of settlement terms, eh? Family of lad who is killed in alcohol foolishness (I even think it was from a med kit, not a stove) wants some assurance that "something will be done" to protect other boys. Makes 'em feel better, settle lower. Gives more meaning than dollars, and oft as not reduces the dollars quite a bit.

 

Just speculation on my part, of course. You'll note also that Hazardous Weather Training came about after settlements on a few weather-related deaths too, eh? ;)

 

Beavah

 

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You'll note also that Hazardous Weather Training came about after settlements on a few weather-related deaths too, eh?

 

In which case, BSA handled it pretty good. People getting killed in avoidable accidents because of lack of knowledge = do something to increase knowledge. Good solution. The Hazardous Weather traning is mostly common sense, but it's good to reiterate it. It's especially useful for folks travelling to parts of the country with different weather patterns and hazards than they're used to.

 

But banning stuff because of accidents? If something got banned every time there was an accident, kids wouldn't be allowed out of their bedrooms without padded hazmat suits.

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My goodness I agree with Hawkins! I can accept we can evolve with additional training for things that are hazardous--we don't want boys needlessly hurt and want to minimize risk. So the weather hazard training was probably a good thing--and prevented some bone-headed things in my unit. But banning goes too much the other way.

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Answer to OP - Hazards (real not imaginary), and not comparative risk (worse or better than risk of XYZ.)

 

Want to do your own PHA of homemade equipment lifecycle risks? Here is the link to the PHA. Would be interested in your results and of course what innovative mitigations you come up with.

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/Forms.aspx

 

Program Hazard Analysis (PHA), No. 680-009

This evaluation process is used to systematically identify, assess, and resolve hazards associated with

program activities that support the vision, mission, and goals of the Boy Scouts of America. An analysis

should be conducted for new program activities, for modifications to or expansions of existing activities,

or for existing program activities with newly recognized hazards.

 

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Yah, OK RichardB. So how 'bout postin' a link to the PHA for alcohol stoves? You know, what we call "transparency". ;)

 

Da problem is that PHA's are only one step in the process, eh? Identifying hazards is fine, but what yeh will quickly find is that everything is a hazard. That gets us MSDS for bricks. ;)

 

Da follow-up then is on the level of risk vs. the level of benefit, and then on cost vs. benefit of the response. That necessarily includes the comparative analysis that yeh indicate wasn't done in this case.

 

Yep, alcohol stoves pose hazards. They are, however, common in Scouting throughout Europe, eh? More common than gasoline or propane. So I'd think that an important question would be the comparative safety, eh? If they're safer than gasoline, then why would we waste any air on the subject? And if they're safer than, say, cycling, then why would we spend any effort on this when we could gain more by workin' on cycling? There are opportunity costs and rules-saturation issues to consider.

 

Yeh know. All those things professionals are supposed to consider in doin' this stuff ;).

 

Now, me personally, I don't care for alcohol stoves. Finicky, slow-cooking things. ;)

 

Beavah

 

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Thanks Richard.

 

I was kinda hoping though to see the actual analysis that BSA had already done as part of revising the G2SS. I've spent enough time in corporate corridors to know you can't have a useful discussion when one side of the debate is driven by information hidden from the other side. Plus, as Beavah said, you can't just analyze risk, you've got to analyze benefits and comparative risks with other alternatives. If we just look at risk in isolation, we'd never do anything.

 

Is alcohol more dangerous than iso or white gas? Is it more dangerous to store, transport, fuel, etc.? Are relatively simple homemade stoves more dangerous than commercial stoves that require occasional maintenance? (what happens if a scout doesn't tighten the nut on the generator when he replaces one on a white gas stove?). I have my own ideas about the answers, but I'd really like to know what hard data other people have on this subject. I might learn something.

 

 

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JM and Fellow Scouters,

 

Greetings!

 

On a few topics.

I used to attempt ultra light backpacking; but over the years, I've become a creature of comfort and now I tailgate it. Now, two of my Associate Advisors like to go ultra-light, one carries a small alcohol stove and he says it is good enough for he and his wife to boil water and make ramen noodles. He enjoys his alcohol stove and endorses it, if handled safely.

 

Regarding G2SS, Buffalo Skipper and other fellow Scouters already commented on an alcohol and lighter fluid events with tragic results. Till recently, the G2SS had bolded text, which should be followed absolutely, and regular text which were guidelines. Now the recently published G2SS has not bolded text and all the guidelines should be followed diligently.

 

During my local IOLS and BALOO classes, they call one of my topics "Crew21 Gloom and Doom Speech", aka the G2SS. My fellow leaders are attentive and respectful, and can appreciate it when I put a spin on it. Most of my fellow leaders are somewhat experienced in the outdoors, but most never considered safety or the absolute worst case scenarios. Scouting has an outstanding outdoor program and very safe program comparably. But sadly, youth and adults have died while Scouting. From drownings, shootings, falls, cuts and burns. I don't think any Scouts have frozen to death, but a few have lost fingers and toes to frostbite during unit level scouting events.

 

I joke that the original G2SS was a two page memo, but accidents (and fatalities) do happen and now we have pages and pages of safety policies. But we shouldn't bubble-wrap and shelter our Scouts either. Just be aware, be adventurous, and identify when something is unsafe or horribly against G2SS policies.

 

I don't know if BSA will change their policy on laser tag and paintball. But for summer camp and outdoor programs, I believe National BSA was piloting a safe program using jet skis and 4x4 quads; and finding if they could be safely be brought into Scouting.

 

Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21_Adv

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Until a fuel line on a Jet Ski or ATV breaks, sprays fuel on a scout, there is a terrible accident and BSA is sued. Then folks like me, who never wanted them in the first place will complain that BSA took them away.

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DeanRx,

 

That is a massive and erroneous oversimplification of what LNT says about fires. There's nothing banning fires in a survival situation. There couldn't be, because LNT is a set of guidelines, not regulations.

 

I don't know what a hasty fire is, but I can assure you there's no ban on it. Scouts can still build fires except in areas where there are burn bans - and they're due to local conditions, not LNT.

 

---------------

 

Ah, moreincredibly defensive wisdom from Richard, as usual devoid of any specifics. As Beavah said, show us what you've got. Coming on here and tossing off a comment that suggests we're just not privy to the information that you are in Irving isn't exactly helpful.(This message has been edited by Shortridge)

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Burn bans are about forest service and fire district policies regarding weather conditions......Let me see dead or fined for an illegal fire

 

 

buy a manufactured alcohol stove, it is just that simple. Alcohol isn't banned it just isn't recommended......

 

Far as abuse or boys playing with fuel and fire goes.....someone posted about a young scout jamming a stick into a isobutane canister and trying to light the gas spraying out.....

 

I think that National missed the boat on this one......The scout camp staff accident happened with alcohol from a first aid kit........Heck I had a scout burn up a big bottle of hand sanitizer.....

 

 

 

So what is the actual argument about????? The alcohol as fuel or the DIY Stove?????

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So what is the actual argument about????? The alcohol as fuel or the DIY Stove?????

 

I reckon that's the actual question, Basementdweller.

 

Nobody seem to know, because the data and the thinking about these things is never shared.

 

If it were to be shared, then several things would happen.

 

Scouters would be able to properly inform their own judgments, which would lead to better decision-making in the field and a higher level of support for the real safety intent of the rules. Trainers would also be able to use it to build more informed, targeted, and engaging training.

 

And scouters who have expertise in various areas would also point out weaknesses in the data or arguments being made which could substantially improve and refine our safety approach, or be treated as unwelcome undermining of professional authority and imposition on their time.

 

And folks would be afraid that the sharing of data would lead to bottom-feeding folks of a certain otherwise respectable profession usin' those data to try to generate or support litigation. I think that's more unfounded fear than reality, myself, but when yeh look at some of da folks tryin' to use the Ineligible Volunteer records to generate litigation, yeh have to admit they have a point in some cases.

 

I've long been on record as sayin' that the best business decision and mission-based decision is to share data and thinking as widely as possible, so we all know what we're really talkin' about and why.

 

Beavah

 

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First of all I do believe that alcohol has a lower BTU rating than that of white gas at about 50% which means one has to carry twice the alcohol to produce the same amount of heat as white gas. Maybe someone out there can confirm or refute that statement.

 

Secondly of all, I used to have a manufactured alcohol stove that I wouldn't trust in the hands of anyone, including myself. Imaging a tin cup with the lip that curls in about 1/4" In the lip are a series of holes that hold the flame, meaning the lip heats up, causes the evaporation, and vaporizes at the holes which are then combusted into flame. The opening of the cup is wide open and the grate for the stove is connected to the cup. If this lit stove ever tips over, there's going to be about 8 oz. of open alcohol spilling all over the place. Not my idea of an exciting time, but it surely would be exciting.

 

I used it once and go so nervous I never used it again. I have no idea what ever happened to that stove, and I don't care.

 

If manufactured stoves can be that dangerous DIY stoves would scare me even more.

 

I have always used paraffin for my DIY stoves and they work just fine with no danger of spillage.

 

Stosh

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"First of all I do believe that alcohol has a lower BTU rating than that of white gas at about 50% which means one has to carry twice the alcohol to produce the same amount of heat as white gas. Maybe someone out there can confirm or refute that statement."

 

---That's roughly correct! (close enough for the sake of the discussion)

 

It is also why alcohol is MORE efficient per weight up to about 4 day's worth. Because a simple alcohol stove (like a Pepsi can or Cat can) weighs only 1 oz. A typical white gas stove weights about 14 oz. So until you are going on a trip long enough to require more than roughly 13 oz of alcohol, an alcohol stove and fuel weighs less than a white gas stove and fuel (not counting the weight of the fuel storage containers). Alcohol can be stored in a clearly marked soda bottle (1 oz) whereas white gas should be stored in a metal container weighing more like 4-5 oz.

 

The weight benefit threshold will depend upon how much fuel you use. For an example, if you only have 1 cooked meal a day, you will use less fuel, and the alcohol stove becomes more weight-efficient over a greater period of time.(This message has been edited by Buffalo Skipper)

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I agree with buff.......I can carry stove and fuel for a weekend outing weighing less than the unfueled weight of a whisperlite.

 

 

If you are worried about speed then you have never really been backpacking.

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buy a manufactured alcohol stove, it is just that simple. Alcohol isn't banned it just isn't recommended......

 

Yeah, but I'm not really as interested in cooking with alcohol as I am in making the stoves. It's the DIY that matters. A penny alcohol stove, or just a simple cat food side-burner, are frankly great projects for scout-aged boys to learn how to make things with their own hands.

 

I almost all-capped that, because I feel like shouting it. We need to encourage more tinkering, more mechanical aptitude. The self-confidence to make something yourself, especially something "dangerous" like a stove that actually burns, is a great thing for a kid to have.

 

These stoves can be made safely, but we don't even try any more. Just go buy something at the mall and throw it away when it wears out. Opportunity missed. And there isn't even a halfway decent explaination. Somebody did something stupid with a first aid kit, so making your own stove is banned?

 

 

 

 

 

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