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State Fire Marshal’s Office Recognizes National Burn Awareness Week

Everyday Items Can Be Hazardous If Care Is Not Taken
Monday, February 03, 2020 | 10:50am

NASHVILLE –In recognition of National Burn Awareness Week (Feb. 2-8, 2020), the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is sharing basic burn prevention tips and reminding consumers that everyday items can be burn hazards if care is not properly taken. This year’s theme focuses on contact burn prevention.

A contact burn is a type of burn most associated when skin touches something hot, such as pavement, a fireplace grate, or pans from the oven. These burns can happen at any age, but children under 5 years old face a higher risk.

While a majority of contact burns result from contact with heat, some burns, such as frostbite or hypothermia, result from exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Hypothermia can affect anyone but infants, the elderly, and people who suffer from diabetes or heart conditions are at greater risk.

According to the most recently available figures from the American Burn Association, an estimated 70,000 contact burn injuries were seen in U.S. emergency rooms in 2018. One-third of the patients seen in emergency rooms were children under the age of five.

“We want to remind Tennessee parents, educators, and children that not all burns result from fires,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Hodgen Mainda. “While most who suffer burn injuries will survive, many of those survivors will sustain serious scarring, life-long physical disabilities, and adjustment difficulties. To avoid common household products creating a burn injury, we urge consumers to be aware of items that present a hazard and take measures to prevent burns.”

In an effort to keep Tennesseans safe from contact burn hazards, the SFMO shares these tips:

Avoid a contact burn

  • Supervise children around hot objects at all times
  • Stand at least 3 feet away from hot outdoor objects. Keep area clear of trip hazards. Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Protect your feet from hot objects by wearing shoes when walking on hot pavement or sand. Keep pets off hot pavement too.
  • Turn heating pads and blankets off before sleep.
  • Have hot pads available whenever cooking. Long oven mitts are best when needing to reach in or over hot surfaces, such as in an oven or over a grill. Assume all pots and pans are hot.
  • Remember to treat items coming from the microwave as you would items from the oven. Limit microwave use by children.
  • Unplug tools such as these when not in use and always treat as if they are still hot. Keep out of reach of children.

Prevent non-fire cooking burns

  • Ranges or ovens were the most common cooking equipment involved in non-fire cooking burns.
  • Although tableware is not itself used for cooking, it often holds very hot food, soups, or drinks, and may be very hot.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid, or carrying hot food or liquids.

Prevent frostbite and hypothermia

  • Pay attention to weather forecasts.
  • Dress in several layers of loose warm clothing.
  • Wear hats that fully cover the ears, warm boots, and mittens.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid or limit outdoor activities when the temperature nears or dips below 5 degrees (CDC 2013).
  • Take frequent breaks indoors from the cold.

For more information on how to keep your family fire- and burn-safe, visit tn.gov/fire.

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