The best way to treat a burn injury is to prevent it from happening. But sometimes accidents are unavoidable. There are some steps you can take to decrease the likelihood that you or someone you love will suffer a burn injury. Below are some helpful tips on how to avoid burn injuries.
Fire Escape Plans
Fires can become deadly before you realize that they have started. Because of the immediacy of their threat, it is imperative to have a plan if your home or work catches fire. Below are some tips for a good fire escape plan.
- Your plan should include two ways to exit every room. This can include both windows and doors.
- Keep your escape routes clear and unblocked.
- Be wary of security bars on windows. Although they do provide a sense of safety, they can be deadly during a fire. If you have them, ensure they have emergency release devices.
- Know the location of each smoke alarm. There should be one in every bedroom.
- If you live or work with others, your plan should include a place to meet outside so that you quickly know if everyone has made it out safely.
- If someone living in your home has movement limitations, make sure there is someone designated to help them get out.
- Practice the plan.
Although electrical burns are not the most common burn injuries, they can be extremely severe. Below is a list of tips that will be helpful in avoiding electrical burns.
- Do not allow electrical appliances or their cords to be exposed to water unless they were designed to do so.
- Unplug any appliance that begins to smoke or have an unusual smell immediately.
- If you are in water, do not touch anything electrical.
- Replace cords that are cracked or frayed.
- Never connect more than two extension cords.
- Do not run cords under rugs.
- Use your fuse box properly.
- If you are having problems with your electrical system, do not try to fix it yourself. Call a qualified electrician.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for lighting fixtures.
- Avoid power lines and utility poles.
Even if you practice safety in your kitchen, your home can still pose other burn dangers. Below are some tips that will lessen your risks in your home.
- Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.
- If you use kerosene heaters, refill them outside after they have cooled.
- Place a protective screen in front of your fireplace.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Have full fire extinguishers available.
- Store flammable liquids in their original containers away from heat sources.
- Remove trash from your home. It is generally very flammable.
A large percentage of burn injuries occur in the kitchen. You can decrease the likelihood that you are burned in your kitchen if you:
- Do not leave what you are cooking unattended.
- Keep your stove and oven clean of flammable grease and debris.
- Do not store flammable materials, including towels and oven mitts, in exposed areas near the cooking area.
- Do not spray aerosols near an open flame.
- To avoid spills, cook on back burners and turn pot handles away from you.
- Wear close-fitting clothes and roll up your sleeves while cooking. Beware of stovetop flames when reaching above the stove.
- Only use microwave-safe containers in the microwave.
Although using flammable objects or chemicals outside of your home or business is much safer than using them indoors, they still pose serious risks. Below are some tips to avoid burns while working outdoors..
- Do not use flammable liquids as cleaning agents.
- Never fill gasoline tanks or containers in enclosed spaces.
- Let motors cool before refueling.
- Do not use gasoline to start a fire.
- If your fire is dying, do not add lighter fluid. Instead, use dry kindling.
- Use outdoor grills away from buildings and vegetation.
Scald burn injuries happen when one comes into contact with heated fluids, such as boiling water or steam. To avoid scald burns:
- Set water heaters at 120° F. Note that showers and baths at this temperature may still cause burns. Thus, make sure that you do not solely run your hot water.
- Beware of hot steam that may escape when opening containers of hot food. Lift lids away from your face and arms.
- Use non-slip rugs in areas where there are commonly hot liquids. At the kitchen table, use non-slip placemats.
- Have your radiators serviced by professionals.
- Do not remove the cap for your car’s radiator until the engine has cooled.
Special Tips for Children
- Put covers on unused electrical outlets.
- Practice your fire escape plan with your children. Draw them a map of the plan.
- Never microwave baby bottles.
- Create a childfree zone around the cooking areas in the kitchen.
- The skin of small children is more sensitive to heat. Ensure that their bathwater is no higher than 101° F. To do this, run some cold water before you begin running hot water. If the water is too hot for an adult, it is certainly too hot for your child.
- Always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bath.
- Place children in the tub as far away from the faucet as possible.
- Never leave a child unattended in the bath.
- Small children are strong enough to move tablecloths. Do not use them when small children are present.
More safety tips from the National Fire Prevention Association can be found here.