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Burn Prevention and Fire Safety Tips

To obtain a copy as a PDF (portable document format) file, click here.


tips for preventing Scald Burns

Safety Tips to Prevent Scald Injuries

A scald is any burn caused by a hot liquid or steam. Bathing and kitchen-related accidents are the most common causes of scalds and CAN be prevented. The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas offers tips to help make your home a safe environment in its “Hot Liquids Burn” brochure (funded by the Department of Homeland Security-United States Fire Administration Fire Prevention and Safety Grant).

If someone should sustain a scald injury, The Burn Center recommends the following:

  1. Remove any wet clothing and run cool water over the burn to slow down the burning process.

  2. Avoid using home remedies or ice which often makes a burn worse.

  3. Hot Liquids Burn - Prevention & Safety TipsSeek IMMEDIATE medical attention by calling 9-1-1, visiting your physician or seeking emergency care at a hospital/burn center. Delaying treatment can result in a more serious injury.

Kitchen Safety Kitchen Safety

Stove/Oven

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep the stovetop and oven clean, as a buildup of grease and debris can ignite easily.
  • Keep stove area clear flammable materials. Don't leave oven mitts, paper or cloth towels near the stove.
  • Dishtowels should never be hung on the oven door.
  • Do not place or spray aerosols near an open flame.
  • Cook on back burners and turn pot handles in to prevent accidental spillage.
  • Wear close-fitting clothes and roll up sleeves. Turn stove top flames off before reaching above the stove.

Microwave Ovens

  • Use only containers designed for microwave use.
  • Allow food to cool before removing it from the microwave.
  • Prevent steam burns by removing lids carefully. Stir thoroughly to distribute heat evenly.
  • Never microwave a baby bottle.

Kid's Corner Kid's corner

  • Create a “kid-free zone” around the stove/oven.
  • Do not allow appliance cords to dangle within reach of small children.
  • Keep hot liquids out of reach of children.
  • Do not use tablecloths or placemats when small children are present.
  • Do not cook on the stove, eat or drink hot foods while holding a child.
  • Keep children out of the kitchen during hectic meal preparations. Assign older children to be responsible for younger children during this time if necessary.
  • Store all matches and lighters up high, out of children's reach.
  • Use child-resistant lighters.

Bathroom Safety

Bathroom Safety

  • Set water heaters at 120 F. Anything higher puts those in your household; especially small children and the elderly, at risk for scald injuries.
  • Do not use hairdryers or other electrical appliances near the sink or a full tub.
  • When preparing a bath for small children, remember to keep the water temperature no more than 101° F as their skin is more sensitive to heat. Have the children test the water themselves before getting in.

Heating Safety Heating Safety

  • Space heaters need space - at least three feet away from anything that can burn - including furniture, drapes and rugs.
  • Keep children and pets away from all heaters.
  • Never leave heaters unattended.
  • Refuel kerosene heaters with kerosene only, outside, after the heater has cooled.
  • Always use an approved glass or metal protective screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Store flammable materials like newspaper, kindling or wood away from stoves and fireplaces.
  • Do not use throw rugs in front of the stove or fireplace.
  • Have your chimney inspected by a professional once a year and have it cleaned if necessary.
  • Use only dry seasoned wood in wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Addition of wood and attendance to the fire should be the responsibility of an adult.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available.
  • Never dispose of ashes, hot or cold, in anything but a metal can or bin.

Basement Basement Safety

  • Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original, labeled containers with tight-fitting lids and away from heat sources.
  • Remove trash from your home.
  • Don’t store anything near a furnace or water heater.
  • Clean the lint trap on the clothes dryer after each use.
  • If flooding occurs, turn off electrical circuits before stepping into the water.

Smokers smokers

  • Never smoke in bed or near flammables.
  • Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays and douse butts with water before discarding them.
  • Douse butts with water before discarding them.
  • Check around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes before going to bed.

Outdoor Safety

Outdoor SafetyGasoline

  • Gasoline should always be stored outside in a detached shed or garage, in small amounts, in an approved, sealed container out of reach of children.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquid as a cleaning agent.
  • Never fill gasoline motors in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Before starting a lawnmower, snow blower, or motorcycle; move it away from gasoline fumes.
  • Let small motors cool before you refuel them.

Grilling

  • Never use gasoline to enhance or start a fire.
  • Don’t add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started (use dry kindling to revive the flame).
  • Use grills outside only, well away from buildings, vegetation and other combustibles.
  • Supervise children carefully when a grill is used.
  • Never allow horseplay around the grill.

Apartment / Dorm SafetyApartment/Dorm Safety

  • Know where the nearest stairwell is located.
  • Count how many doors are between your dwelling and the stairwell. (In a fire, the smoke can be so thick you will have no visibility and you need to know your way out without the benefit of vision)
  • Contact the building management and/or your local fire department for proper evacuation procedures.
  • Never use an elevator in the event of a fire.

Electrical SafetyElectrical Safety

  • Never allow an electrical appliance or its cord come in contact with water unless that is what it was designed for (per manufacturers instructions).
  • If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug immediately and have it serviced.
  • Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed.
  • Don’t overload extension cords or outlets.
  • Never connect more than two extension cords.
  • Never run electrical cords under rugs.
  • Don’t tamper with the fuse box or use improperly sized fuses.
  • Don’t place flammable objects on or near light bulbs.
  • Always follow manufacturers instructions on the type of light bulb and wattage for a light.

Smoke Detectorsmoke detector

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each bedroom.
  • Do not install a smoke detector near cooking vapors.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly, following manufacturers instructions.
  • Change batteries twice a year on daylight savings, or whenever you hear a “chirp” indicating a low battery. Follow manufacturers instructions for long life batteries.
  • Never borrow or remove batteries from a smoke detector.
  • Replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old, the effectiveness is not guaranteed.
  • Vacuum smoke detectors to keep them dust free and functioning.
  • CO is a tasteless, odorless, colorless poisonous gas. Every home should also have at least one carbon monoxide detector.

Fire Escape Plans Fire Escape Plan

To create your own Fire Escape Plan, click here to access a blank template, available as a PDF file.

  • A working smoke detector is the most important part of a fire escape plan.
  • NEVER ignore a fire alarm!
  • Most residential fires occur between midnight and six a.m.
  • In the event of a fire, you have less than two minutes to escape safely.
  • Prepare for an emergency by designing an escape plan for the entire family.
  • Know two unobstructed ways out of each room.
  • Feel all doors for evidence of heat before opening them.
  • Close doors behind you to hinder the spread of fire.
  • Close room doors before opening windows.
  • If your escape route involves an upper-level window, be sure to plan a safe way of getting to the ground.
  • Decide on a meeting place. Pick a place that is safely away from the home but not across a busy street. The entire household should agree on a spot (mailbox, tree, neighbors house) and know to meet there in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice your escape plan with the entire household at least twice a year.
  • Remember to crawl low under smoke.
  • Stop, Drop and Roll if your clothing catches on fire.

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