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Guidance on the safe use of petrol stoves


(Published April 2022)

Many store rooms in Scout buildings contain a variety of stoves and lamps that have been collected over a number of years. It’s impossible to give precise instructions on how to operate all the different types of stoves and lamps out there, instead, we can provide some general rules that should see you well on your way.

This guidance will focus on general rules for the use of petrol stoves and lamps. If you’re not sure about how to use a particular stove or lamp, try to find out some more information, preferably from the manufacturer’s instructions. You could ask other leaders in your Group, District or County or search for the make and model on the internet. However, if in doubt about the safe use of a lamp or stove chuck it out.

Safety precautions

Handling flammable materials has an element of risk.


  • Work a good distance away from naked flames, including other lamps, stoves and fires.
  • Work in the open air or in a well ventilated space – never inside a sleeping tent.
  • Wipe up any spilled fuel at once and get rid of any material the fuel has touched with care.
  • When refilling petrol stoves, make sure that the stove has cooled down. You can’t see fuel vapour. This can form in pockets where you least expect it, and could be set alight by a spark.
  • Seal all fuel in an appropriate container manufactured for the purpose of storing petrol all times when not in use. Not only is there a danger of spilling fuel when a can is unsealed, but on a warm day, flammable vapours can be given off. For this reason, fuel should also be kept in the shade.
  • Use only the correct fuel for the stove or lamp being used. Never mix fuels.


All fossil fuels add the potential for risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, Camping Gas - Guidance on Safe Use provides further information, particularly on the risk from Carbon Monoxide.