Burn Prevention Tips

In the United States, approximately 2.4 million burn injuries are reported per year! According to the Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, of those injuries, between 8,000 and 12,000 of the burn patients die and approximately 1 million will sustain substantial or permanent disabilities resulting from their burn injury.

It's also noted that burn injuries are 2nd to motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Further data shows that scalds are the leading cause of accidental death in the home for children from birth to age 4 and are 40% of the burn injuries for children up to age 14. Roanoke Fire-EMS, Safe Kids Coalition and the Burn Survivor Resource Center want to keep you and your family safe by sharing the below safety tips on burn prevention:
  • Never leave children alone around open flames, stoves or candles.
  • Keep matches, gasoline, lighters and other flammable materials out of children's reach.
  • Teach children a plan for escaping your home in a fire and practice it!
  • Install smoke alarms in your home on every level and in every sleeping area, testing them once a month and replacing the batteries at least twice a year.
  • Before bathing children in heated water, always run your open hand through the water to check its temperature or use a tub thermometer.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Never carry children and hot foods or liquids at the same time.
  • Make sure that pot handles are turned towards the stove when cooking so that a child cannot accidentally grab the handle and spill the contents.
  • Keep things that easily catch fire (such as papers) away from heat sources like stoves, heaters and fireplaces.
  • Never smoke or use smoking materials near oxygen.
  • Take care when cooking and make sure your clothes cannot catch fire.
Microwave Safety
Hospital emergency departments and burn centers are also reporting that they are treating many children burned from quick-cooking, microwave-heated noodle and pasta products such as instant noodles, macaroni-and-cheese and other similar ‘quick and easy heat and eat' food products. These burns occur because microwave ovens heat foods to very high temperatures and the foods and liquids are heated unevenly. To make sure you and your family are safe when using the microwave, remember the following rules:
  • Stir microwave heated food after heating to mix the hot and cool areas.
  • Test the temperature and make sure the heated noodles, pasta dishes or ‘pocket' food has cooled to a safe temperature before serving to children.
  • While cooling hot foods, make sure they are out of the reach of children.
  • Make sure your child is old enough and tall enough to safely prepare foods in a microwave.
  • Supervise children while they are preparing foods in a microwave oven.
  • Microwave Ovens mounted above the counter can be a major burn hazard: hot liquids are frequently spilled on hands, chest or torso while removing them from their microwave ovens.
Providing First Aid
If you or a member of your family does burn yourself, here are some first aid tips for treatment:
  • Remove the hot, wet clothing - don't forget to check and remove an infant's diaper if it has absorbed hot liquids.
  • Cool the burned area immediately with room-temperature tap water.
  • Do not use ice or very cold water. Ice or very cold water will further damage the burned area; when it is the temperature of the unburned skin, you have cooled enough.
  • Gently dry the area and cover the burn with a clean, dray bandage or towel.
  • Do not use butter, first aid ointment or burn cream. These items tend to cause more pain.
  • Keep the burned victim warm while you transport them to the hospital or wait for emergency services to arrive. Cover with a blanket. Burned skin loses body heat even in warmer months.
By arming yourself and your family with knowledge, you can help prevent a tragedy in your home.

Roanoke Fire-EMS encourages all Roanoke residents to practice fire safety steps every day. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility and fire prevention precautions do make a difference!