smoke-alarm

What the … beep?! Silly rule detected and reversed at Michigan Crossroads Council

Common sense. We see it so rarely in politics these days that it’s big news whenever it shows up.

Take the recent news that the Michigan Department of Human Services told the Michigan Crossroads Council that it would be required to have smoke detectors in all 1,000 of its summer camp tents across nine camps.

Yes, you read that right. A thousand small, beeping, blinking, battery-draining smoke detectors for all the two-person, council-owned tents in the Lower Peninsula.

But here comes common sense. Fortunately, we got word yesterday that the state agency has reversed its decision and will not require the detectors. 

The impractical — not to mention costly — detectors fired up state Rep. Phil Potvin, a board member of the President Ford Field Service Council. He told the Detroit Free Press that the “tents are right next to the campfire. You are going to have smoke in them. You’re going to have constant beeping in there. How would they hang in tents? Tents are going to leak. They’re going to get wet. It’s a major expense for absolutely nothing.”

Kudos to my colleague Frank Reigelman, outdoor adventures director for the Michigan Crossroads Council, for helping set the state straight.

He told the Free Press that smoke detectors are installed in camp buildings, cabins, and yurts but aren’t needed in two-person tents.

But perhaps Rep. Ken Goike, a Republican from Macomb County’s Ray Township, said it best:

“Nobody wants to see any children being burned. But when was the last time … a Boy Scouts’ s’more fire (went) amok?”

19 thoughts on “What the … beep?! Silly rule detected and reversed at Michigan Crossroads Council

  1. Not to mention it is against the rules to have fire IN a tent. Who was the moron that thought this up? Obviously someone that never went camping let alone was a Scout. NO ELECTRONICS ON A CAMP-OUT. GPS is the exception – safety device and tool for games and the like.

  2. I don’t think the council owns a lot of tents that it uses, beyond the staff tents, but yes, more nanny state stuff, or was somebody reading their camp application for DHS too thoroughly? Glad they came to their senses.

  3. The council owns a ton of tents. At Gerber scout reservation for example a tent is provided for everyone. That’s a few hundred right there at one camp. I realize this isn’t the case at all the camps, but it’s true of enough the them to amount to a major (and silly) expense. It’s good that they got this taken care of.

  4. Can the BSA now do away some of the silly rules that they implemented for service projects? According to the Service Project & Power Tool Use on Scouting.org,

    “As a rule, Scouting activities may not include activities for youth that by law they would be not be allowed to do in a work place. ” Since that means all Cub Scouts and those Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and Venturers are not suppose to do any of the following:

    Cook over an open flame
    Any baking activities
    Clean cooking equipment with a surface temperature over 100 degrees
    Door to door sales (there goes Trail’s End Popcorn)
    Cutting grass as a money earning project for Jambo, Philmont, etc.

    etc etc.

    Just a thought.

    • LOL That’s too funny – it would be if it wasn’t sad.
      With our former pack we were trying to to a clean-up service project for our school (CO). We were reigned in, and told that we could only do certain things, or we would take away work from their Union staff…like there aren’t enough “skilled” things they could do (maybe building repairs), because they were freed up.
      The rule might be somehow connected to the above issue, just not spelled out to make it less obvious.

    • By that logic (having to follow what is allowed in a work place) those under the age of 14 are pretty useless to getting anything done then.

  5. How many of these tents would be close to a campfire that would set them off? I think the smoke detects would become fuel for the fire. Oh yeah, that would expose the youth to the NiCad battery smoke.

  6. Here’s another silly Michigan rule: Any troop traveling on a high adventure in Michigan with more than 4 boys for more than 4 days falls under the state’s “camp licensing” rules, even though they’re not camps. This means troop leaders need to be investigated by the State Police, submit menus, and get a state-issued permit — among myriad other requirements. I think the BSA, which has its own wilderness medicine, permitting, insurance, and other policies, knows what it takes to protect traveling Scout groups. All of this red tape just discourages Michigan-based troops from traveling — and spending their money — in Michigan. The no-brainer solution in my troop: travel outside the state. It’s hard to believe with its dismal economy that Michigan would push Scouts and their tourism dollars out of the state, but that’s the situation. So much for rolling out the welcome mat.

  7. Here’s another silly Michigan rule: Any troop traveling on a high adventure in Michigan with more than 4 boys for more than 4 days falls under the state’s “camp licensing” rules, even though they’re not camps. This means troop leaders need to be investigated by the State Police, submit menus, and get a state-issued permit — among myriad other requirements. I think the BSA, which has its own wilderness medicine, permitting, insurance, and other policies, knows what it takes to protect traveling Scout groups. All of this red tape just discourages Michigan-based troops from traveling — and spending their money — in Michigan. The no-brainer solution in my troop: travel outside the state. It’s hard to believe with its dismal economy that Michigan would push Scouts and their tourism dollars out of the state, but that’s the situation. So much for rolling out the welcome mat.

    • There are actually 2 applications – 1 for the activity, and one for the location – $$$. Had to do the stuff for the camp at our church. Crazy.

      • Is this meant to harass the BSA. It sounds like the State of Michigan has it in for scouting. With regards to a church group, you could tell them to mind their own business – separation between church and state…..stay out of church business.

  8. Kelly, this was not targeting Scouting at all. It is just that we fall under the DHS umbrella of youth camps in Michigan. I don’t know if the rule has been recinded for all camps or just the BSA ones.

  9. Most ionization type smoke detectors contain a tiny amount of americium 241, a radioactive isotope that is necessary for the operation of the detector.
    Normally this material is encapsulated within the detector and does not present a hazard. Smoke detectors are usually mounted on the ceiling, well out of reach of children. Mounting a smoke detector in a standard two-man canvas scout tent would eliminate this additional level of protection.
    Picture if you will, the following scenario: It’s a rainy day at camp, scouts are cooped up in their tents, and are very bored. Johnny Tenderfoot decides that taking apart the smoke detector would be a good way to pass the time. At some point, the americium souce is removed from the detector, and for whatever reason Johnny decides to swallow the capsule contaning the source….
    Also burning that annoying smoke detector in the campfire is probably a really bad idea, breathing smoke that contains americium 241 is most likely not all that good for you.

    • It would, however, eliminate the need for lanterns and flashlights as the youth would now glow in the dark for a long while.

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