Summertime records the highest burn cases!
It’s time to review some fire safety tips
Summertime is an opportunity for families to gather, spend time outdoors, and enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. However, it is also the season when more people are treated for burn injuries.
Doreann DeArmas, APRN, works at the Miami Burn Center – one of the leading burn treatment facilities in the nation located inside Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial. After 29 years working at Jackson, she has the knowledge and experience to treat the most severe burn cases that come through Ryder Trauma’s doors.
“July is the peak month for summer burns, and we know so many of these can be prevented with some safety precautions,” DeArmas cautioned. “It is important for families to be aware of tips to decrease the chances of any unfortunate circumstances.”
July 4th and Fireworks
Fireworks can be dangerous, with sparklers burning at about 2,000 degrees. According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25 percent of firework-related emergency room visits. For children under five years of age, sparklers account for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.
Dos and Don’ts
- Always have adult supervision when children are close to fireworks or are handling fireworks on their own.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Never hold lit fireworks in your hands and never light them indoors.
- Only use fireworks away from people, houses, and flammable materials.
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Never use illegal fireworks. Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers.
Enjoying nature, barbecuing , and spending quality time with loved ones around a campfire are favorite summer pastimes. However, campfire safety and burn prevention are essential to keeping you and your family out of harm’s way. Campfires are the nation’s leading cause of children’s camping injuries and can trigger forest fires when not properly lit or put out. As you plan your next outdoor gathering, follow these tips.
Campfire Dos and Don’ts
- Build a fire pit on gravel or dirt instead of grass, and make sure it is at least 25 feet away from structures, trees, or anything that can burn.
- Use a fire ring, rocks, or bricks to encircle a fire pit to keep the fire from spreading or getting too big. A fire can double in size in as little as 30 seconds.
- Keep a close eye on children around campfires. You can draw a “safety circle” about six feet around the fire pit to visibly show kids the line they can’t cross.
- Have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher at the campfire site in case flames get too big. If you need to lower the flames, use a shovel or throw dirt on the fire.
- Bring a first-aid kit in case of an emergency.
- Do not use a campfire on a windy day, as it is easier for fires to spread.
- Never use gasoline or other flammable, combustible liquids to accelerate a fire.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
Charcoal Grill Dos and Don’ts
- There are several ways to get charcoal ready to use with newspaper, charcoal starter fluid, and electric charcoal starters. Always use caution when handling starter fluid of any kind.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing into a metal container.
- Do not dispose hot coals on the ground or near anything that can catch fire.
- Do not wear long sleeves when grilling.
A little advance preparation to ensure your child is protected from harm can lead to a great and safe summer at home. Did you know children up to 14 years old make up 15 percent of all fire-related deaths in the United States? For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area. Teach kids never to play with matches, lighters, or fireworks, and keep those items in a locked cabinet or drawer. Children should also know how to properly use kitchen microwaves and stoves. An alternative is to leave them prepared foods that don’t require re-heating or cooking.
Some additional tips when leaving your child home alone:
- Have your child check in with you periodically.
- Teach your children your evacuation plan in case of a fire or an emergency.
- Teach your child how and when to call 911 for help.
- Demonstrate the technique of stop, drop to the ground, and roll, if their clothes catch fire. Teach them to crawl on the floor to the nearest exit if they are caught in a fire
Treating minor burns
To treat a minor burn, immediately cool it down with cool water. Avoid ice and cold water because it can further damage the skin. Clean the area of debris with soap and water, and cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth. If your clothing catches fire, remember to stop, drop to the ground, and roll back and forth until the fire is out. Remove clothing that is burned and seek medical attention, if necessary.
Education is key!
Every year, the team from the Miami Burn Center hosts workshops for schools in Miami-Dade County to teach children how to avoid getting burned. The program is a collaboration with various local fire departments, with more than 70,000 students completing the training so far.
“Education is ongoing, and we do it with the hopes it saves lives,” DeArmas said “By working together, we can stay safe this summer.”
Sources: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA); National Safety Council (NSC); The American Pyrotechnics Association