Learn from the Handbook: Take a Deep Breath

BSA-Handbook-Cover For all of the efforts you take to keep your group safe on
weekend trips, one of the greatest dangers to you and your family might be
waiting when you get home: carbon monoxide.

The most commonly inhaled poison, carbon monoxide is a gas
given off by car engines, appliances, charcoal grills, furnaces, and

This week’s installment of our new Learn from the Handbook series tells you how to avoid inhaled
poisons and administer first aid if someone is exposed. You also can find all
the information we’re using in this post on page 170 of the new Boy Scout Handbook.

OK, so it’s dangerous. But how do you avoid it? Start by
keeping your lawnmower or car turned off whenever it’s in a closed garage or
shed. These gas-powered devices give off tons of the harmful vapor. Also, you
shouldn’t cook indoors with wood or charcoal. And, please, keep those gas
stoves, ovens, candles, or other flames out
of your tent while camping. There are better—and safer—ways to stay warm.

If someone is exposed to carbon monoxide or other harmful
fumes, they might develop a headache, dizziness, or nausea. Here’s how to treat
a victim:

  1. Check
    the scene.
  2. Approach
    safely. Don’t make yourself another victim.
  3. Get
    the victim some fresh air.
  4. Call
    for medical help.
  5. Check
    that the victim is still breathing and that his or her heart is still beating.
  6. Perform
    rescue breathing and CPR, if necessary.

It's also a good idea to purchase a carbon-monoxide detector. These devices, which cost around $20 to $40, alert you if they sense harmful levels of the gas.

For more helpful tips for use both in and out of Scouting,
check out your new handbook. Or just come back next week for another edition of
Learn from the Handbook. 

About Bryan Wendell 2996 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.