More than 486,000 individuals are seen in emergency departments, minor emergency clinics or physician’s offices for the treatment of a burn injury each year in the U.S. and Canada, including Regional One Health’s Firefighters Burn Center, which treats over 500 patients annually, including 300 inpatient admissions.
The American Burn Association’s annual National Burn Awareness Week runs Feb. 4-10. It is an opportunity for burn awareness and prevention messaging by the organization’s more than 2,000 members in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America, consisting of physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, researchers, social workers, firefighters and hospitals with burn centers.
Regional One Health’s Firefighters Burn Center is the only full-service burn center within a 150-mile radius of Memphis. It features 14 beds, an outpatient clinic, surgery facilities, a rehabilitation center, research division and special cutting-edge burn care equipment.
Knowledge of the various ways burn injuries occur gives a better chance that individuals will take the appropriate steps to ensure a safe environment. Children younger than 5 are 2.4 times as likely as older individuals to suffer burn injuries that require emergency medical treatment. Adults aged 20 to 29 have a probability of burn injury that is 1.5 times the risk of the general population.
The primary causes of injury include fire-flame, scalds, electrical causes and chemicals, and most injuries occur in the home.
Below are tips on how to create a safer environment at home when it comes to fire safety.
- Have working smoke alarms. The most dangerous fires occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Carbon monoxide and smoke inhalation are the main causes of death in house fires. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years and batteries when the alarm chirps. Place smoke alarms in every sleeping room and on every level of the home.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that could burn and never leave burning candles unattended.
- Prepare a fire escape plan for your home that includes two ways out.
- Keep outdoor fires at least 75 feet from all buildings. Don’t use gasoline or other flammable liquids to start the fire and never leave it unattended. Keep fire extinguishing materials nearby, including water supply, shovels and rakes.
- Use sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor of at least 30 UVA and UVB protection. Reapply every two to three hours.
- When grilling, check the gas tank hose for leaks before use. Open the lid for ventilation before lighting.
- Never overload outlets, power strips, multi-plug adapters or extension cords. Don’t use electrical appliances in or near showers or bathtubs. Turn off electrical appliances that produce heat such as curling irons, clothes irons, hot plates and stoves.
- When transporting any type of gas, make sure it’s stored in approved containers with lids tightly closed. Never store gas in the house or garage. Keep away from any source of heat or sparks, including water heaters, electric motors and car engines.