Both cannons have only ever been used for salute purposes and not for any form of target shooting with an actual projectile. They "fire" a premeasured black-powder charge which results only in a loud bag and a brief flash out from the barrel. Still, the Cannon is only ever operated by experienced adults and every precaution is taken to ensure that no one and nothing is ever in the blast range when firing. Water buckets are also kept on standby in the event of an emergency although they have only ever been needed to wipe down the inside of the barrel for regular maintenance. When not firing, all charges are secured and the Cannon itself is capped both at the muzzle and at the priming hole.
summer camp with the Troop. Barring inclement weather or other artillery related difficulties, the Cannon is fired early every morning to wake the scouts in camp. This blast and the following shock wave through the bunkhouses is followed by a Tarzan yell and the call to fall in for Polar Bear.
When the Troop is in camp for the Fourth of July, the camp staff frequently request the use of Paoli 1's cannon at the retreat ceremony for that day. The small camp cannon is fired once for each state flag and then the Paoli 1 cannon is fired for the American Flag. Whether it is startling scouts from other troops who don't expect the monstrous roar or saving the day when the camp cannon breaks on the second state, the Cannon always makes the Fourth of July more interesting. A few lucky SPLs have even been able to report in at retreat saying "Two on artillery."