Burn Awareness - Central County Fire & Rescue

Burn Awareness

Burn Awareness Week

Burn Statistics

Approximately 450,000 burn injuries require medical treatment each year, according to a report by the American Burn Association.

Children are particularly susceptible; the CDC reports that more than 300 chilren are treated in emergency rooms every day for burn-related injuries. Young children are likely to be injured by scald burns caused by hot liquids or steam, while older children are likely to sustain injuries from flame burns caused by direct contact with fire. Children and older adults, by virtue of their thinner skin, sustain severe burns at lower temperatures and in less time than an adult.

Burn Prevention

In addition to practicing general fire safety, there are a few specific scenarios when burns are more likely to occur. Bathtime, in the kitchen and around fire-starting tools are all good times to remember and reinforce ways to prevent burns.

At bathtime:

  • When using water taps, turn cold water on first, then add hot water and adjust the temperature. Reverse this order when turning water off.
  • Always test bath and sink water at the tap before use (experts recommend testing with an elbow or wrist), and monitor temperature throughout.
  • Set your home’s water heater thermostat to 120º (Fahrenheit) or lower.
  • Consider installing anti-scald devices on faucets and shower heads, which will shut off water if it gets too hot.

In the kitchen:

  • Use safe cooking practices. Never leave cooking food unattended, use backburners when you cook and turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge so they stay out of reach.
  • Supervise and/or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens and microwaves.
  • Test the temperature of food and beverages before serving them to children. Food can cook unevenly in microwave ovens; stir and test before eating.
  • Use oven mitts to handle hot food; never use wet oven mitts, which can cause scald burns. Replace old/worn oven mitts.
  • Open heated food containers slowly, away from the face to avoid steam burns. Hot steam escaping from the container or food can cause burns.

Around fire-starting tools:

  • Store all matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of young children.
  • Teach older children responsible use of matches and lighters, and reinforce the concept that these are tools with a specific use (ie. lighting a candle or starting a campfire).

Burn Treatment

If a burn does occur, there are a few important steps you should take immediately.

  • Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water for 3-5 minutes.
  • Cover burn with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays or other home remedies.
  • Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry and metal from the affected area, as these items can hide underlying burns and retain heat.

Seek medical treatment for severe burns.