Camp Fire Yarn No. 23
BE PREPARED FOR ACCIDENTS
The Knights Hospitallers of St. John Accidents • Boy Heroes Life-Saying Medals
The knights of old days were called "Knights Hospitallers" because they had hospitals
for the treatment of the sick, poor, and those injured in accidents or in war. They used to save up their money and keep these
hospitals going, and although they were brave fighting men they used also to act as nurses and doctors themselves.
The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem especially devoted themselves to this work eight
hundred years ago. The British St. John Ambulance Brigade and the Red Cross today represent those knights.
Explorers and hunters and other scouts in out-of-the-way parts of the world have to know
what to do in case of accident or sickness, either to themselves or their followers, as they are often hundreds of miles away
from any doctors. For these reasons Boy Scouts should, of course, learn all they can about looking after sick people and dealing
My brother was once camping with a friend away in the bush in Australia. His friend was
drawing a cork, holding the bottle between his knees to get a better purchase. The bottle burst and the jagged edge of it
ran deeply into his thigh, cutting an artery. My brother quickly got a stone, wrapped it in a handkerchief to act as a pad,
and tied the handkerchief round the limb above the wound, so that the stone pressed on the artery. He then got a stick, and,
passing it through the loop of the handkerchief, twisted it round until the bandage was drawn so tight that it stopped the
flow of blood. Had he not known what to do the man would have bled to death in a few minutes. As it was he saved his life
by knowing what to do and doing it at once.
Accidents are continually happening, and Boy Scouts will continually have a chance of
giving assistance at First Aid.
We all think a great deal of any man who, at the risk of his own life, saves someone else's.
He is a hero.
Boys especially think him so, because he seems to them to be a being altogether different
from themselves. But he isn't. Every boy has just as much a chance of being a life-saving hero if he chooses to prepare himself
It is pretty certain that nearly every one of you Scouts will some day or another be present
at an accident where, if you know what to do, and do it promptly, you may win for yourself the lifelong satisfaction of having
rescued or helped a fellow-creature.
Remember your motto, BE PREPARED. Be prepared for accidents by learning beforehand what
you ought to do in the different kinds that are likely to occur.
Be prepared to do that thing the moment the accident does occur.
I will explain to you what ought to be done in different kinds of accidents, and you must
practise them as far as possible. But the great thing for you Scouts to bear in mind is that wherever you are, and whatever
you are doing, you should think to yourself, "What accident might occur here?" and, "What is my duty if it occurs?"
You are then prepared to act.
And when an accident does occur remember always that as a Scout it is your business to
be the first man to go to the rescue. Don't let an outsider be ahead of you.
Think It Out in Advance
Suppose, for instance, that you are standing on a crowded platform at a station, waiting
for the train.
You think to yourself, "Now, supposing someone falls off this platform on to the rails
just as the train is coming in, what shall I do? I must jump down and jerk him off the track on to the far side -there would
be no time to get him up to the platform again. Or if the train was very close, the only way would be to lie flat and make
him lie flat too, between the rails, and let the train go over us both."
Then, if this accident happened, you would at once jump down and carry out your idea,
while everybody else would be running about screaming and excited and doing nothing, not knowing what to do.
Such a case actually happened. A lady fell off the platform at Fins-bury Park Station
in London just as the train was coming in. A man named Albert Hardwick jumped down and lay flat, and held her down, too, between
the rails, while the train passed over both of them without touching them.
On the other hand there was a disgraceful scene which occurred at Hampstead, where a woman
drowned herself before a whole lot of people in a shallow pond, and took half an hour doing it, while not one of them had
the pluck to go in and bring her out. One would not have thought it possible that a lot of men could only stand on the bank
and chatter-but so it was, to their eternal disgrace. The first man to arrive on the scene did not like to go in, and merely
called another. More came up, but finding that those already there did not go in, they got a sort of fear of something uncanny,
and would not go in themselves, and so let the poor woman drown before their eyes.
What a Scout Can Do
Had one Boy Scout been there, there would, I hope, have been a very different tale to
tell. It was just the opportunity for a Boy Scout to distinguish himself. He would have remembered his training.
Do your duty.
Help your fellow-creature, especially if it be a woman.
Don't mind if other people are shirking.
Plunge in boldly and look to the object you are trying to attain, and don't consider your
own safety first.
Boys have an idea that they are too young and too small to take any but an outside part
in saving life. But this is a great mistake.
Since I wrote this book many thousands of cases have occurred of Boy Scouts plunging in
to save drowning people where the crowd was afraid to help.
In the Scouts, we have medals for gallantry, which are granted for acts of heroism and
Let every Boy Scout prepare himself for emergencies. Some day you may see an accident
happen; if you have learned beforehand what to do, you can step forward at once and do the right thing. In any case, you will
have the satisfaction of having helped a fellow-creature.