• Observe Burn Awareness Week the First Full Week in February

     

    Burn Awareness Week is the first full week of February

    Burn Awareness Week – 1st full week in February
    Modified version of image by BruceBlausOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0

    Burn Awareness Week kicks off the Sunday of the first full week of February.

    The week’s goal is to raise awareness of burn hazards and help people learn to avoid getting burned.

    Now you might think avoiding burns is common sense. But you might also be surprised at how many potential hazards you just don’t think about each day.

    You’re not alone, either. Burn injuries rank as one of the top accidental causes of injury and death in the United States.

    Remember, it’s not just about not sticking your hands in a flame.

    The CDC’s definition of fire/burn/smoke inhalation injury is “Severe exposure to flames, heat, or chemicals that leads to tissue damage in the skin or places deeper in the body; injury from smoke inhalation to the upper airway, lower airway, or lungs.”

    So it’s also about not accidentally scalding yourself with boiling water. Remembering that pan you just took out of the oven is still hot. Avoiding chemical burns. And so much more.
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    Do You Know These Things About Burns?

     

    Children are especially likely to suffer burn injuries. As much as parents try to protect them, they move quick and get into things in an instant:

    • Children under age 15 account for almost 1/3 of all burn injuries.
    • Compared to the general population, children under age 5 are almost 2.5 times more likely to suffer burns bad enough to need emergency treatment.
    • Detergent pods aren’t just a poisoning hazard for young children. In 2015, 480 children aged 3 to 4 went to emergency rooms with eye burns from these pods.

     

    Even young adults are more prone to burn injuries than the general population—by about 1.5 times between age 20 and 29.

    No matter your age, you’re more likely to get burned at home. Almost 3/4 of burns happen there.

    According to the National Safety Council’s Odds of Dying chart, the odds of dying from exposure to fire, flames, or smoke is 1 in 1,454. Of course, there are other sources of burns, too. For example, heat and hot substances (1in 69,169).

    Learn more about burn injuries on the National Burn Awareness Week Fact Sheet (PDF).

    Scroll down for some ideas on observing this safety-oriented week.
     

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    Ideas for Observing Burn Awareness Week

     
    This is an important week for everyone, because anyone can suffer a burn. Accidents do happen. And even if you’re careful, someone else may not be.

    Individuals

    Since most burns happen at home, start by learning more about preventing them. Then vow to look around your home to find ways to make it safer.

    Some quick tips:

    • All homes should have working smoke alarms in every sleeping area. Test them monthly and replace when they’re 10 years old or not working right.
    • Have an escape plan and practice it with all family members. Learn more about planning and practicing a fire drill here.
    • Be careful when taking foods out of the microwave. Open lids away from you so the steam doesn’t burn you. Stir the food and test temperature carefully before eating.
    • Always use gloves when working with chemicals.

     

    Learn more with this checklist for avoiding burns (PDF).

    If you live with or care for older adults, this list offers more tips to help keep them safe. For example:

    • Avoid loose sleeves when cooking. They can brush stove burners and catch fire. (This one’s actually great advice for anyone!).
    • If anyone is hard of hearing, use specially designed smoke alarms. Some emit louder sounds, while others use strobe lights or vibrations.
    • If someone uses oxygen, make sure nobody smokes or lights open flames near the tank.

     

    Homes with children should also take extra precautions, including these:

    • Teach children to stay at least 3 feet away from the stove. Always. Not just while you’re cooking.
    • In case they do get too close, use only back burners as much as possible. It’s harder for kids to accidentally pull a hot pot off the stove that way.
    • Teach children to only use matches and lighters under adult supervision.

     

    And never leave a child alone with a lit candle. Curiosity can get the better of even the most well-behaved child. (Trust me. I was that child!)

    The CDC has links to more resources for fire prevention.

    And, of course, sometimes accidents happen even when you’re careful. So learn how to treat a minor burn and when to get medical attention.

    Businesses

    Work is the second most common place people suffer burns (although it’s a distant second). Employers can use this week to reinforce safety among their workers.

    A few examples:

    • Make sure people in labs and manufacturing areas wear the right protective gear.
    • Make sure chemicals are always stored properly. This includes proper ventilation of chemical cabinets.
    • If space heaters are used, make sure they’re out of the way and not near anything flammable.

     

    Will you be checking your home and/or workplace to improve safety? Do you have any tips or stories to share?
     

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