Burn Safety

Take precautions to prevent injuries & dangerous situations.

Fireworks Safety

Use caution when handling fireworks

While fireworks may be tempting to light, researchers and doctors say the injuries resulting from fireworks have the potential to be life-altering. Injuries resulting from mortars and shells tend to be MORE SEVERE resulting in permanent impairment.

While burns comprise a large proportion of injuries, it’s important to remember patients also sustain injuries to soft tissue, their eyes, hands and legs, and/or brain. 

To help prevent injuries from fireworks:

Make sure children stay a safe distance away from a lit firework

DO NOT allow children to play with or light fireworks, including sparklers

Only light outdoors & keep a bucket of water handy to extinguish fires

Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol

If you light fireworks:

Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before lighting or using

Use ONLY (legal) consumer-grade fireworks

Wear protective eyewear

Attend public firework displays — leave lighting fireworks to the professionals & watch safely at a distance

Fireworks Injury Data (2023):

Locally, Harborview Medical Center (HMC) treated:

  • 58 firework-related injuries
    • 74% sustained injuries to the extremities
    • 40% sustained injuries to the eyes, face, and head
    • 47% sustained burns
    • 45% underwent an amputation
  • Almost 80% of patients were admitted to the hospital
  • Patient ages ranged from 10 months—57 years
    • Fifteen patients were under the age of 18 

The busiest month at HMC was July, with 33 patients from July 1 to July 13 (HMC Burns & Trauma Registry).

Nationally, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated:

  • Eight fireworks-related deaths
  • Estimated 9,700 people for fireworks-related injuries
    • Over half of those injuries were to the extremities
    • Thirty-five percent were to the eye or other parts of the head

Via Consumer Product Safety Commission

Source: National Safety Council (NSC) and NFPA’s Fireworks Fires and Injuries report

Burns at Home

Every day, 435 children (ages 0 to 19) are treated in emergency rooms for burn-related injuries and two children die as a result of being burned. Burn safety is a foreign concept to most young children. In fact, one of the most difficult lessons young children learn is that some things—such as stoves, radiators and flickering flames—can be painfully hot. If children play with matches or lighters, the threat can extend to the entire family.

Learn how to take precautions in and around your home!

Ordinary everyday things in and around your home (such as bath water, food, electrical outlets, firewood, mulch, leaves, debris, and other materials) can increase risks of fire and burns.

Follow these safety tips to prevent burns in the home:

• Prevent burns from scalding water. Check water heater temperature. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Infants who aren’t walking yet can’t get out of water that may be too hot, and maintaining a constant thermostat setting can help control the water temperature throughout your home—preventing it from getting too high.

• Reduce water temperature. Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to below 120 F (48.9 C). Aim for bath water around 100 F (38 C). Check the temperature of the bath water with your hand before putting your child in the bath.

• Avoid hot spills. Don’t cook, drink, or carry hot beverages or foods while holding a child. Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table and counter edges. Don’t use tablecloths or placemats, which young children can pull down. Turn the handles of your pots and pans toward the rear of the stove and use backburners when possible. Don’t leave the stove unattended when you’re cooking.

• Establish ‘NO’ zones. Block access to the stove, fireplace, space heaters, and radiators. Don’t leave a child unattended in a room when these items are in use.

• Keep hot devices out of reach. Store items designed to get hot, such as clothes irons or curling irons, unplugged and out of reach.

• Test food temperature before feeding young children. Be careful with food or liquids warmed in a microwave, which might heat foods unevenly. Never warm a baby’s bottle in the microwave.

• Choose a cool-mist vaporizer. They prevent steam burns.

• Address outlets & electrical cords. Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps. Keep electrical cords and wires out of the way so that children don’t pull on or chew on them. Replace frayed, broken, or worn electrical cords.

• Choose fire-resistant fabrics. Check labels to make sure mattresses and pajamas meet federal flammability standards.

Outdoor Burns

Learn how to take precautions outside and around your home!
Follow these safety tips to reduce the risk of wildfire in your community:

• Create a Wildfire Ready Plan. Be prepared to protect your home, family, pets, and neighbors.

• Watch grills, firepits & campfires. Never leave them unattended.

• Avoid backyard fireworks. Don’t let children play with or near fireworks or sparklers.

• Stay connected to your neighbors & lend a helping hand. Encourage your neighbors to get prepared for wildfire, help create a joint action plan, and lend a helping hand where needed.

• Remove all flammable items within 5 feet of your home’s edges. Create a non-flammable perimeter around your home by removing flammables like mulch, dead vegetation, lawn furniture, firewood stacks, etc.

• Harden your home against embers. Reduce ember entry and penetration by screening exterior vents with a 1/8-inch metal mesh and keeping gutters clear of leaves and debris.

• Remove flammables in your yard and maintain lawns and native grasses. Within 30 feet of your home, keep your lawn lean and green and remove flammables like firewood and other debris.

• Prune trees & manage vegetation in your yard. Trim branches that overhang your home. Remove plants containing resins, oils, and waxes, such as arborvitae and juniper trees. Maintain vegetation in well-spaced groupings.

• Inspect and/or replace your roof. If you have a wood roof, replace it with Class A fire-rated materials. Even if your roof is fire-resistant, regularly inspect it for loose or missing shingles and replace it as needed.

• Make a plan & test it! Put together an emergency supply kit and evacuation plan, and then practice it with your household.

• Support your local fire district. Install reflective address signs with 4-inch lettering to help first responders save lives during wildfire incidents and medical emergencies. And, if you can dedicate your time, sign up to volunteer with your local fire district!

For more information on Outdoor Burns, visit: hiprc.org/campfire-safety

 

Source: Wildfire Ready Neighbors (wildfireready.dnr.wa.gov)

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Carbon monoxide, or “(CO)” is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from carbon monoxide. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are:

headache

dizziness

weakness

upset stomach

vomiting

chest pain

confusion

CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.

Take precautions in your home:

Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home. Check or replace the detector’s battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.

Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.

Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.

If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.

When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.

Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.

Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.

Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.

Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.

Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.

Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.

Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.

Take precautions with your vehicle:

Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car or truck every year. A small leak in the exhaust system can lead to a buildup of CO inside the car.

Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.

If you drive a car or SUV with a tailgate, when you open the tailgate open the vents or windows to make sure air is moving through. If only the tailgate is open CO from the exhaust will be pulled into the car.

First Aid

How you treat a burn in the first few minutes after it occurs can make a huge difference in the severity of the injury.

Follow these steps to treat a burn:

“Stop, Drop, and Roll” to smother flames.

Remove all burned clothing. If clothing adheres to the skin, cut or tear around burned area.

Remove all jewelry, belts, tight clothing, etc., from over the burned areas and from around the victim’s neck. This is very important; burned areas swell immediately.

Types of Burns

First-degree burns involve the top layer of skin. Sunburn is a first-degree burn.

Look for these signs:

Red

Painful to touch

Skin will show mild swelling


Follow these steps to treat a first-degree burn:

Apply cool, wet compresses, or immerse in cool, fresh water. Continue until pain subsides.

Cover the burn with a sterile, non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth.

Do not apply ointments or butter to burn; these may cause infection.

Over-the-counter pain medications may be used to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

First degree burns usually heal without further treatment. However, if a first-degree burn covers a large area of the body, or the victim is an infant or elderly, seek emergency medical attention.

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Fire Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics, Smokey for Kids

Second-degree burns involve the first two layers of skin.

Look for these signs:

Deep reddening of the skin

Pain

Blisters

Glossy appearance from leaking fluid

Possible loss of some skin


Follow these steps to treat a second-degree burn:

Immerse in fresh, cool water, or apply cool compresses. Continue for 10 to 15 minutes.

Dry with clean cloth and cover with sterile gauze.

Do not break blisters.

Do not apply ointments or butter to burns; these may cause infection

Elevate burned arms or legs.

Take steps to prevent shock: lay the victim flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches, and cover the victim with a coat or blanket. Do not place the victim in the shock position if a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected, or if it makes the victim uncomfortable.

Further medical treatment is required. Do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Fire Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics, Smokey for Kids

A third-degree burn penetrates the entire thickness of the skin and permanently destroys tissue.

Look for these signs:

Loss of skin layers

Often painless. (Pain may be caused by patches of first- and second-degree burns which often surround third-degree burns)

Skin is dry and leathery

Skin may appear charred or have patches that appear white, brown or black.


Follow these steps to treat a third-degree burn:

Cover burn lightly with sterile gauze or clean cloth. (Don’t use material that can leave lint on the burn).

Do not apply ointments or butter to burns; these may cause infection

Take steps to prevent shock: lay the victim flat, elevate the feet about 12 inches.

Have person sit up if face is burned. Watch closely for possible breathing problems.

Elevate burned area higher than the victim’s head when possible. Keep person warm and comfortable and watch for signs of shock.

Do not place a pillow under the victim’s head if the person is lying down and there is an airway burn. This can close the airway.

Immediate medical attention is required. Do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Fire Administration, American Academy of Pediatrics, Smokey for Kids

2024 National Burn Awareness Week

Handle with Care, Flammable Liquids Beware!

Each year, thousands of emergency department-treated injuries are related to flammable liquids. Of the people injured, 87% were male. Vapors from some of these liquids are highly flammable. Since you can’t see vapors, use extra caution around the gasoline and other flammable liquids.

From 2019 to 2021, Washington State reported a total of 3,730 fires caused by flammable or combustible liquids.

Children and adults alike have been injured using flammable liquids such as gasoline. Most incidents involve a flammable liquid used on an outside fire such as burning trash, a bonfire, or a brush fire. when combined with an ignition source a fire can develop and spread quickly!

Follow these safety tips:

• All flammable liquid containers should be kept in cool, dry locations and stored away from the home.

• When purchasing a gas can, be sure it has a fuel arrestor on the can to prevent splash back.

• Some cooking oils are highly flammable liquids. Keep your eyes on what your fry!

• Never use an accelerant such as gasoline, kerosene, or aerosol sprays to start a camp fire.

• Fuel snow blowers, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and weed eaters when the engines are cool and in an open area outdoors.


Source: American Burn Association (ABA); Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); Washington State Patrol (WSP)

When storing, dispensing, or handling Flammable Liquids in Washington State:

You must use only approved containers and portable tanks for storage and handling of flammable liquids.

• You must use approved metal safety cans, or department of transportation approved containers for the handling and use of flammable liquids in quantities 5 gallons or less, except that this does not apply to those flammable liquid materials which are highly viscid (extremely hard to pour), which may be used and handled in original shipping containers. For quantities of one gallon or less, only the original container may be used for storage, use, and handling of flammable liquids.

For additional information, visit the Washington State Legislature >>

2023 National Fire Prevention Week

Cooking safety starts with YOU! Pay attention to fire prevention.™

The National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®), the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week™ for more than 100 years announced Cooking safety starts with YOU! Pay attention to fire prevention™ as the theme for the 2023 Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14).

The theme focuses on cooking safety and aims to educate the public about simple but important steps they can take to help reduce the risk of fire when cooking at home, keeping themselves and those around them safe.

When cooking in the kitchen:

• Keep a close eye on what you’re cooking. Always keep a close eye on what you’re cooking. For foods with longer cook times, such as those that are simmering or baking, set a timer to help monitor them carefully.

• Clear the cooking area of flammable objects/materials. Clear the cooking area of combustible items and keep anything that can burn, such as dish towels, oven mitts, food packaging, and paper towels.

• Turn all pot handles. Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep a lid nearby when cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner.

• Create kid & pet-free zones. Create a “kid and pet free zone” of at least three feet (one meter) around the cooking area and anywhere else hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

According to NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, with nearly half (49 percent) of all home fires involving cooking equipment; cooking is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires and related deaths. In addition, NFPA data shows that cooking is the only major cause of fire that resulted in more fires and fire deaths in 2014-2018 than in 1980-1984.

Learn more about Fire Prevention >>


Source: National Fire Protection Association; Sparky.org

Deaf or Hard of Hearing

If you or someone in your home is deaf or hard of hearing, take precautions to make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of ALL household members – including those with sensory or physical disabilities.

Install smoke alarms and alert devices that alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing (these devices include strobe lights that flash to alert people when the smoke alarm sounds).

Pillow or bed shakers are also designed to work with your smoke alarms (these work by shaking the pillow or bed when the smoke alarm sounds).

These products can be found online or in retail stores that sell smoke alarms and CO alarms. Be sure to choose smoke alarms and accessories for people who are deaf or hard of hearing that are manufactured by a qualified testing laboratory.

It’s also good practice to sleep with your mobile phone and your hearing aids or implants close to your bed.

Follow these additional steps to ensure the safety of your household:

Install a bedside alert device that responds to the sound of the smoke and CO alarms. Use of a low frequency alarm can also wake a sleeping person with mild to severe hearing loss.

Sleep with your mobility device, glasses, and phone close to your bed.

Keep pathways like hallways lit with night lights and free from clutter to make sure everyone can get out safely.

Source: National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA)

Resources

American Burn AssociationNational Burn Awareness Week

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionBurns and CO Poisoning

Mayo ClinicInfant & Toddler Burn Safety

National Fire Protection AssociationFire Prevention Week

Prevent Child InjuryCarbon Monoxide (CO2) Safety

Safe KidsFire Safety

U.S. Fire Administration

Wildfire Ready NeighborsWildfire Ready Plan

Downloadables

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