Skip to Main Content

State Fire Marshal: Act quickly to treat burns

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 | 05:16am

NASHVILLE, TN – Burns are devastating injuries. A burn accident may only take a moment, but it can affect the lives of its victims and their families for a lifetime. Knowing what to do if a burn occurs is crucial.

“Preventing a burn is always better than having to treat one,” says State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak. “Keeping fire safety in mind is paramount to avoiding painful burn and scald injuries in your home.”
Attempting to treat a significant burn on your own can lead to serious complications. Burns, especially those affecting the young or the elderly, should be examined and treated by a physician.
 
Should you or a loved one sustain a burn injury, stay calm and utilize the following guidelines: 
 
  • Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water. Do not use ice. 
  • Cool the burn for three to five minutes. 
  • Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Do not apply creams, ointments, sprays, or other home remedies.
  • Remove all clothing, diapers, jewelry, and metal from the burned area. These can hide underlying burns and retain heat, thereby increasing skin damage.
  • Call 911 right away or seek medical attention, if the burn is:
  1. on the face, hands, feet, major joints or genital area and/or bigger than the injured person’s palm
  2. white, tight, dry (leathery) or painless
  3. caused by chemicals or electricity
  4. causing difficulty breathing
  • See your doctor as soon as possible if the burn:
  1. does not heal in two to three days
  2. gives off a foul odor 
  3. develops thick drainage, redness or swelling
  4. causes a fever
 
The State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds Tennesseans of these simple safety measures for protecting loved ones from burns: 
 
  • Reduce water temperature. Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees. Consider putting anti-scald devices (about $40) on each faucet and showerhead. Check bath water temperatures before getting in a tub or placing someone else in it. 
  • Prevent spills. If possible, cook with pots and pans on back burners and turn handles away from the front where they could be grabbed or knocked off. Don't place containers of hot food or liquid near the edge of a counter or table and remove tablecloths so a child cannot pull containers onto themselves. 
  • Establish a "kid-free zone." Make the stove area a "kid-free zone" (three feet is a good distance). Never leave your child alone in the kitchen. Don't hold children while cooking or while carrying hot foods and beverages. 
  • Test food and drink temperatures. Carefully taste cooked foods and heated liquids to make sure they're not too hot. Never microwave a baby's bottle. Instead, heat bottles with warm water and test them before feeding your child. 
  • Keep electrical cords out of reach. Cords, especially those connected to heating appliances such as coffee pots and deep fryers, should be kept safely out of reach. Make sure electrical cords can't be pulled or snagged into a bathtub or sink. Don't leave a hot iron sitting on an ironing board unattended.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
The State Fire Marshal’s Office (www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm/) is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance (www.tn.gov/commerce/), which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/, @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX (YouTube) 

Commerce & Insurance | Press Releases