Adult and Child Safety in the Event of a Fire
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) as well as many other organizations work to review and collect resources that can be used in the public as in schools and general information to parents on fire safety. Fire and burn risks are all around us. For instance, a child could just as easily obtain a burn from a stove when it is turned on as they could from a firework going off in the summer. Teaching children and adults of the potential hazards among us could prevent many burns stemming from fires as well as the likelihood that a child will have a hospital visit for burns. Now you can learn about the risks, prevention, as well as seeking care.
In 2011, research was conducted about fire safety and some astounding statistics came forth relating to children and fires that may surprise you. In 2011 alone, there were 13,910 injuries caused by fires as well as 2,520 deaths. Each day, at least one child dies in a home fire but another 293 are injured from fires or burns. You may not know it but children under 5 years of age are at the greatest risk for home fire injuries and deaths because they have the likelihood that they will not be able to escape from a house in the event that something happens. So, you may wonder how these numbers and risks can be minimized.
The truth is, there are many risks out there that cause accidents and injuries relating to fires and burns. Taking your eyes off of a child when they are in the kitchen with a working stove is a risk in and of itself, but there are many much larger and more serious risks associated with burns. Here are some of the most common causes of burn injuries:
Electrical Outlets and Appliances: Some appliances produce a lot of heat and electrical outlets can cause electric shock if a child sticks something into the outlet. This is why appliances should always be kept out of a child’s reach and electrical outlets should always be covered.
Stove Burns: As we know, children love to reach things. This is why, when you are cooking, you should always use the back burner on your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge so that they do not get ahold of anything. If your child is older, you can help by engaging them in cooking.
Lack of Smoke Alarms: Fires and burns go hand in hand, which is why you should always have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms installed.
Lack of Safety Gates: If you have a house that has a fireplace or furnace, you should have measures installed so that your child is unable to reach them. Make sure that your fireplace is protected by a screen and that it can cool down quickly.
Fireworks: Every year, thousands of people are injured by fireworks in the summer season. Many of these injuries are burns to the fingers or face. Remember the hazards and follow firework safety, such as getting away from the area when a firework is ignited and keeping children at a safe distance at all times.
In the Event of a Fire
Fires are usually preventable, but sometimes things happen against our judgment. This is why it is always a good idea to have the best safety plan as possible so that everybody is prepared in the event of a fire in your home. The American Red Cross has banded with many other organizations to teach safety to children and adults alike, and here are some tips to have the best outcome if a fire occurs. As you may not have known, you may only have two minutes to escape when a fire starts in your home. Preparation is always key.
- Keep items that can catch fire at least three feet away from anything that can get hot. This includes stoves and space heaters.
- Do not smoke in bed, as it creates a flammable hazard.
- Teach your children regularly about the dangers of fires.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, even outside of sleeping areas.
- Always teach your children about smoke alarms and show them what you’re doing when you change the batteries and test them every month.
- Remember that a carbon monoxide alarm is not a substitute for a smoke alarm.
- Practice escaping your home at least twice a year.
- Teach household members how to Stop, Drop, and Roll.
- If you are cooking something, always stay in the kitchen to watch children.
- When you are cooking food, always remain in the home and never leave.
How to Treat Burns
If the inevitable happens and your child receives a burn, there are some steps that you can take to assure that they will be fine. Scald burns from hot water and other liquids just so happen to be the most common types in early childhood. Here are some things to remember in the event of a burn:
- Call 911 right away if your child is severely burned.
- If not, you should always remove clothing from the burned areas unless it is physically stuck to the skin.
- Run cool but not cold water over the burn until the pain subsides.
- Apply a gauze bandage.
- Offer them ibuprofen for pain.
- Never put any ointments or various remedies on the burn, because they could make it worse.
- Do not break blisters if and when they form.
In some cases, you may have to seek emergency medical care if a burn is bad enough. If the burn area is too large, a fire caused the burns, or it looks infected, you should always take your child to the hospital to be reviewed for further treatment. It is important that you work proactively and remember these tips for the best outcome.
In some cases, fires will happen no matter what we do to try and prevent them. Accidents are just that – accidents – and we will experience them in our lives. However, the best thing you can do is be prepared for the event of a fire or a burn in regards to your child. There are multiple steps you can take to get out and stay alive in a situation that gets out of control dealing with a fire.