October 4-10, 2009 is Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Stay Fire Smart, Don’t Get Burned”. The focus is on fire safety and burn prevention. Burns are painful and easily avoided if we all follow some basic safety guidelines.
Burn prevention is simple, but yet we all probably don’t think of these simple safety guidelines:
- Keep hot things away from the edge of the table or counter. It is tempting for young children to try to grab things just on the edge of their reach. It is also easier for us grown ups to bump or knock over things that are too close to the edge.
- Keep young children away from hot appliances; this includes stoves and ovens, but also curling irons, hair dryers, irons and heaters. Don’t use or leave hot heating pads in a child’s reach.
- Keep your hot water heater thermostat set no higher than 120 degrees. Extremely hot water can scald young children and older adults very easily.
- Don’t rely on thermometers to check water temperature when bathing young children or assisting older adults. Check the temperature yourself. And never leave young children unattended near water.
- Be carefully wearing loose clothing when cooking.
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended in the kitchen, especially when frying or broiling.
- If you have young children try to cook using only the back burners of your stove.
- Be careful opening containers from the microwave. Hot steam can burn just as quickly as boiling water. Be mindful of the steam from tea kettles as well.
- Keep paper, clothing, toys and other items away from fireplaces, heaters and gas appliances.
- Have your heating equipment and chimney inspected yearly.
- Keep smoking materials away from children, soft furniture, bedding or things that can burn easily. If you must smoke indoors make sure you don’t smoke when tired or on medication that might prevent you from properly extinguishing your smoking materials.
- Don’t place scarves or other fabrics over lamps or lampshades.
- Replace cracked or damaged electrical cords. Don’t rely on extension cords to regularly power appliances. If you need the extension cord all the time then it’s probably time to have an outlet installed.
- If you have young children use outlet covers.
- Contact an electrician if you have electric circuits that frequently trip or fuses that need frequent replacement.
- Call 911 if you smell an electrical or burning odor from a wall outlet or appliance.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and test them frequently. Do not ‘borrow’ the battery from your smoke detector for another use.
If you do get burned:
- Immediately cool the burned area with cold, but not ice cold water.
- Rinse in cool water for several minutes.
- Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.
If the burn is larger than your fist; is burned completely around a finger, arm, foot, leg; or immediately starts to peel or blister you should seek medical attention. If you suspect an electrical burn or have a burn caused by a fire CALL 911. You can not see on the outside the injuries caused on the inside by an electrical burn. Do not place burn creams or ointments on any burn. Rinsing with cool water and a dry bandage are your best first aid treatments.
We’ve all heard the term, “An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that can be applied very aptly to Fire Prevention Week as well as a host of other projects. The preventative measures we take now can prevent much larger repairs or injuries later.
Many of these tips and more can be found at the National Fire Prevention Association’s website at www.firepreventionweek.org or