Sunday, 6 February 2011

Why old style pierce top stoves are bad!

As the title suggests really, I witnessed an incident a Peak District campsite a few months back that highlighted to me the reason these stoves should not continue to be used for expeditions with young people. Whilst waiting for my DofE group to arrive I was sat in my tent observing another group cooking (no idea where they were from). As I watched, one of the young people busted out an old style pierce top stove. These were replaced a number of years ago with the safer, more reliable, resealable stoves. Curiously I watched the events that unfolded next, where the young person mounted the gas canister, and lit the stove. Before I had chance to shout to them, the whole stove had gone up in flames, I ran in and grabbed the stove hurling it away from the tents into the empty camping field, I quickly extinguished the stove, and turned the gas off.
I promptly headed over and gave the leader of the group an earful. It should be noted that in these cases I do not blame the young people, I blame the leader who allowed them to use the stove in the first place. Pierce top stoves are too dangerous, and too easy to use wrongly. So this is a plea to any scout groups, cadets, dofe groups, schools or anyone else who still Show Allhas these stoves squirreled away somewhere......Bin them now! Afterwards I collected the stove and took some pictures for instructional purposes, so that others can see the results of using these stoves incorrectly. The main issue is if they ignite, it is very difficult to deal with as the stove becomes a fireball, something that for a young person on an expedition will be very scared of.

The issue occurs when the arms securing the canister are not placed correctly, when the canister is is punctured a leak occurs, and when the stove valve is turned on and lit, the pressurised gas sprays out of the canister and lights instantly, and continues to flow. The best case scenario is that the canister remains attached to the stove, the worst case scenario (something that I have seen before), is if the canister becomes detached from the stove, the pressurised canister then blasts off like a rocket with a trail of fire behind it. Obviously this represents a huge hazard, not least of which hitting another young person, or a tent, or vehicle. The question we have to ask ourselves is "is it worth the risk", when resealable stoves are available from £9.99?....Food for thought.

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