LAFD: Preventing Burns In Your Home

LAFD News:
The Los Alamos County Fire Department would like to bring awareness of preventing burns in the home during this National Burn Awareness Week (Feb. 5-11, 2017.)
Each year there are more than 450,000 burn injuries that occur in the United States serious enough to require medical treatment. Many of these burns are preventable, here are some tips to help prevent these types of injuries.
One of the leading causes of burns to children is hot water scalds. These burn injuries are preventable:
  • Test water before bathing children. Never leave children unattended when bathing they may slip or could turn on hot water in your absence.
  • Never let children touch faucet handles when bathing.
  • When running water always turn COLD water on first add HOT until reaching your desired temperature. Reverse this order when your turning water off. Turn HOT water first then COLD.
  • Be cautious when drinking hot liquids especially around young children. At 60°C (140°F) it takes less than five seconds to get a third degree burn. Children and older adults can sustain severe burns at lower temperatures and in less time than an adult due to their thinner skin.
  • Set the temperature on your water heater to 120º F, or use the “low-medium” setting. Water that is hotter than this can cause burns in 2 to 3 seconds.
  • Never use a microwave oven to warm baby bottles. Liquid may heat up unevenly in a microwave and could scald your baby’s mouth.
  • Before putting your child into a car seat, touch the seat to see how hot it is. Hot seat-belt straps or buckles can cause second-degree burns on small children. Cover the car seat with a towel when you park in the sun.
More fires start in the kitchen than any other location in the home, on average, people will experience at least two kitchen fires during their lifetime. Burns received in the kitchen are usually a result of scalds from hot foods or liquids, or contact burns from hot appliances.
  • Keep young children at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any place where hot food or drink is being prepared or carried. Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges. Children should never be left unsupervised in the kitchen.
  • Use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens or stovetops. Never use wet oven mitts or potholders as they can cause scald burns.
  • Teach and practice STOP, DROP & ROLL. If a child’s clothes catch on fire they STOP where they are and cover their face with their hands, DROP to the ground, and ROLL over and over until the fire is out.
  • Put smoke alarms in your home, one each floor and outside each sleeping area. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries when you change your clocks.
  • Make a family escape plan. Have regular fire drills with your family practicing your escape plan. Designate a meeting place outside your home in case there is a fire.
  • Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher. Keep one or more in your home.
  • Put out a small fire on a stove by sliding a lid over the flames.
Prevent burns by preventing fires in your home. Be prepared and know what to do if fires ever do occur. Fires and burns often happen unexpectedly but you can take precautions to help prevent them.
  • Have a professional electrician check the wiring in your home at least once every 10 years.
  • Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney and fireplace once a year.
  • To prevent electrical burns, put covers on any electrical outlets that are within children’s reach. Throw out electrical cords that are frayed or damaged in any way.
  • Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet where children can’t reach them.
  • Never leave candles unattended. Blow them out when you leave a room. Leave them out of reach of children.
  • Use space heaters carefully and teach children to stay away from them.
  • If you smoke, don’t smoke in bed. Get rid of used cigarettes carefully. Fires caused by smoking materials are the leading cause of deaths in house fires. Do not smoke if you or someone in your home is on oxygen.
  • Prevent chemical burns by wearing gloves and other protective clothing when you handle chemicals. Store chemicals, including gasoline, out of the reach of children.
  • Be aware of dangers of the sun, wear high index sun screen, a large brim had, loose fitting tightly woven fabric, and clothes that are made with sun protective fabric.
Steps you should take if there is a fire in your home.
  • Stick to your escape plan, get to your meeting place as fast as you can and call 9-1- 1.
  • Stay as low to the ground as possible crawl if you have to. Smoke and heat rise, so it will be easier to breathe closer to the floor. (Many more people die from poisonous gasses caused by house fires than from burns.)
  • Check closed doors by touching them with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, don’t open it-it means the fire is nearby. If it is cool, open slowly and peek out. Stick to your family escape plan and get to your meeting place as fast as you can.
  • Close doors to separate yourself from the fire and smoke.
  • If you or your clothes catch on fire “STOP, DROP AND ROLL.”
It’s important to know some steps to take in case of a burn. Cooling the burned area immediately following the incident will lessen the severity of the injury. Remember children and older adults have thinner skin and will sustain severe burns at lower temperatures in a shorter a shorter amount of time. Exposure to water which at 60°C (140°F) (this is the average home’s hot water as it comes from the tap) can result in third degree burns.
  • Within seconds of a burn injury the burned area should be placed in, or flushed with, COOL water. Keep the burned area in the cool water for three to five minutes. NEVER use ice.
  • Cover the burn 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, which can increase skin damage.
  • If a burn injury is severe, immediately seek emergency assistance.
For more information on Fire Safety or Burn Prevention contact the Los Alamos Fire Department at 662.8301. Or visit