HONOLULU – According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately every 60 seconds someone in the U.S. suffers a burn injury serious enough to require medical treatment.
With National Burn Awareness Week running from February 4-10, DTRIC Insurance wants you to use this opportunity to prevent potential serious burn injuries to you and your family.
Fire experts say most “fire-related injuries” are from burns where many of these incidents could have been prevented.
“Increased awareness of these dangers can prevent injuries, especially among younger children who may not understand the dangers of fire and extreme heat,” said DTRIC Vice President and Chief Claims Officer Mike Mishima. “Children playing with matches or unattended cooking and hot appliances potentially leading to serious injuries could all be prevented through proper supervision.”
Keep your family safe by learning how to prevent burns. Here are several fire safety tips to protect your loved ones, particularly young children, from burn-related injuries:
1) Matches and lighters. Children “playing” with or starting fires cause hundreds of injuries, millions of dollars in damage, and are most likely to kill young children under the age of 5, according to the NFPA. Many fires happen because matches and lighters are left within a child’s reach.
Store matches and lighters up high, preferably in a locked cabinet. Along with teaching young children never to touch matches or lighters, tell them they must notify an adult when they come across them.
Also, closely supervise children to make sure they are kept away from other fire sources such as lit candles, cigarettes and bonfires, and explain these items are not toys to play with.
2) Unattended cooking. The leading cause of house fires is cooking. If you’re frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unsupervised – always stay in the kitchen. Turn off the stove, even if leaving the kitchen for only a short period.
Keep kids and pets away from the cooking areas and at least several feet away from the stove. Both children and pets are “curious” about food being prepared. Small children may want to pretend to cook and help the adults, while pets are attracted by the smell of food.
To prevent kitchen-related burns, keep protective potholders within reach to grab a hot pot or pan that may quickly boil over or overcooks. Also, keep children and pets away from outdoor charcoal grills or deep fryers since hot coals and frying oil can cause serious burns.
3) Bath time for children. Scalds from hot water, steam and other liquids are the second leading cause of all burn injuries. One form of scalding for children can come from bathing water being too hot. ALWAYS supervise a child in or near a bathtub. Test the water at the faucet, making sure the water is less than 100° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius). Before placing a child in the bath or getting in the bath yourself, test the water by moving your hand, wrist and forearm through the water. The water should feel warm, not hot, to the touch.
4) Electrical appliances. Keep clothes irons, curling irons and other heating devices out of reach of children. After use, don’t just switch the device itself off, unplug it. Also, periodically inspect the power cords of these devices to check for fraying.
5) Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. In the event a house fire does occur, these are two devices that can quickly alert you to a fire and bring it under control. Always have fresh batteries in your smoke detector to keep it operating properly. And store the fire extinguishers in convenient locations for easy reach, particularly in the kitchen.
If a house fire does become large and out of control, don’t be a hero and attempt to put out the fire! Get yourself and your loved ones out of the house to safety and let the firefighters manage the situation.