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National Burn Awareness Week

The first full week of February is observed as National Burn Awareness Week

National Burn Awareness Week was established to provide an indepth look at the seriousness of burns, scaldings, and other fire and heat related causes of injury and death. The whole week is dedicated to encouraging people to be aware of the dangers of fire and to take preventive measures whenever and whenever possible.

It is an opportunity for all people, especially parents, to learn more about fire safety and how they can keep themselves, their children, pets, and property safe from burns and scaldings, smoke inhalation, and electrical shock. Burn Awareness Week promotes safety standards and gives educators a forum to educate people about the dangers of fire, hot water, and electricity in homes, at work, in the forest, and in and around places you don't usually think about.

During Burn Awareness Week, many important burn and heat related safety tips are presented and you can learn from people who have been severely burned, people who are in the fire prevention business, and those who have treated burn victims such as doctors, nurses, and firemen.

Each year, the number of burn injuries in the United States alone total over 2 million with over 75 thousand admitted to hospitals. Over 8 thousand of those die. Approximately 116,000 children are burned each year and over 500 under the age of 14 die. Scarring, disfigurement, and burn related amputations take a heavy toll.

Most injuries due to burns and scaldings occur in and around homes and most of those are due to cooking, smoking, and the mishandling of gasoline, kerosene, candles, electrical wiring and sockets, and contact with household chemicals.

Many day-to-day activities in the home present a burn risk. Most of these injuries can be prevented with simple measures that improve home safety

(1) Children free zones are important in every home. Mark off an area with a bright tape, red, yellow, or orange, measuring at least 3 feet from the stove and oven and make sure that all children in your home know why the line is there and why they should not cross it. This may seem extreme but if it prevents your child from getting burned, it is worth it.

(2) Never leave your baby, toddler, or young child alone in the kitchen. All children are curious and they want to explore, pull on things, and see what is in pots and pan.

(3) When cooking, turn the handles of pots and pans so they are facing the back of the stove. Don't place hot foods or liquids on the edge of a table or counter top.

(4) Never hold a child while you are cooking or carrying anything that is hot. You may burn yourself and drop the container, splash hot liquids on the child, or drop the child.

(5) Always test food or hot drinks before giving them to a child to make sure that they are not too hot and never microwave a baby's bottle. Milk or baby formula can get hotter inside the bottle than the temperature of the bottles themselves.

(6) Teach children that matches, lighters, candles, electrical cords and outlets, and outlets are not toys and should not be played with. Lock matches, lighters, and candles in a safe location and place covers over electrical outlets and plugs.

(7) Set the thermostat to the hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees and check the bath water in the tub, shower, or sink to make sure that it is not too hot. If you don't know how to set the thermostat, contact your gas company, apartment manager, or call a contractor to do it.

(8) Keep screens and security devices around fireplaces and any type of open flames and make sure that children and pets cannot touch or get near them.

(9) Never heat your home or apartment with charcoal. Not only does charcoal emit carbon monoxide and other harmful fumes, but barbecue pits can be pulled over by a child and start a fire on carpet, curtains, or table cloths.

(10) Smoking is one of the most common causes of fire related accidents that seriously burn or kill children. Never go to sleep with a lit cigarette even if it is in an ashtray. A child or pet can knock it over and start a fire.

A house fire can lead to a tragic chain of events that may severly injure or kill someone. It can take the life of a child or destoy an entire family in an instant.

Most states have laws requiring homes and apartments to have smoke detectors or fire alarm systems installed. If you don't have them in your home right now, you should install them right away. If you do have them, make sure the batteries are replaced at least once a year and the alarms should be tested at least once a month.

When there is a fire in a home, even if you have smoke detectors that work perfectly, getting out may become a challenge. You should have an plan for escape in place for you and your family and everyone should practice it often. The object of an escape plan is to get everyone out of the house safely in case there is a fire or other emergency.

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