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Archive for October 23rd, 2014

 

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A friend of mine was at home one evening with her three sons, ages 8, 6 and 1, and her mother. Her husband was away on a business trip. A fire started in the microwave in the kitchen and quickly spread to other rooms. She told her 8-year-old to grab the baby and get outside. Then she got her 6-year-old and her mother out and called 911 from her cellphone. In that moment, she realized how lucky they were: Their home was badly damaged, but her family was safe.

In my 10 years at the National Fire Protection Association, I’ve heard many tragic stories about home fires. But I’d never personally known anyone who had experienced one until it happened to my friend. And it’s because of experiences like hers — and those of other families who were not so lucky — that the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week, taking place October 6-12, is “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”

Our mission this week is to spread the word about how dangerous kitchen fires can be — and provide safety tips that can prevent them. Did you know that …

1. More fires start in the kitchen than in any other place in the home. Two of every five home fires start there.

2. Cooking fires are common — and deadly. On average, they cause 44 percent of home fires, 15 percent of home fire deaths and 38 percent of home fire injuries each year.

3. Multitasking while cooking is not a good idea. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires, responsible for one-third of them.

4. Frying is the #1 activity associated with cooking fires. Cooking oil or grease can easily catch fire if it gets too hot — and because frying is typically done in an open pan, a fire can spread easily once it starts..

5. The most common equipment involved in home cooking fires? Ranges or cooktops, which accounted for 58 percent of fires. Ovens accounted for 16 percent.

6. An electric range is more dangerous than a gas range. That’s because, with an electric range, it may be less obvious that a burner is on — and because burners on electric ranges stay hot for a period of time even when turned off.

7. Microwave ovens are more dangerous than you think. They’re one of the leading home products associated with scald burn injuries, accounting for 44 percent of the microwave injuries seen in emergency rooms in 2011.

8. In the kitchen, it usually isn’t fires that burn young kids. More often, it’s contact with a hot stove or pans or a scald from hot cooking liquids or steam. In fact, children under age 5 accounted for 55 percent of tableware scalds, 42 percent of contact burns from ranges or ovens, and 34 percent of microwave scalds in 2011.

9. What you wear while cooking makes a difference. Though loose clothing was the item first ignited in only 1 percent of home cooking fires, these incidents accounted for 16 percent of cooking fire deaths.

10. Taking matters into your own hands can make matters worse. Three out of five people who were injured during cooking fires were injured while trying to fight the fire themselves.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your family safe.

1. Cook only when you’re alert — not when you’re exhausted, not when you’ve been drinking.
2. Keep an eye on what you fry. If you have to step away from the stove, turn it off.
3. Keep things that can catch fire — such as dish towels, potholders and paper towels — away from the stove. And avoid cooking in your bathrobe — the loose sleeves can catch fire easily.
4. Keep hot things away from the edges of tables and counters.
5. Open microwaved food slowly, and keep the food away from your face.
6. Have a “kid-free” zone of at least 3 feet around the stove and anything hot — and never hold your child while you’re cooking or carrying something hot.
7. Teach kids to stay away from the stove and hot foods.
8. Keep pets off cooking surfaces.
9. Install smoke alarms in the kitchen, outside each sleeping area, inside each bedroom, and on every level of your home (including the basement).
10. If you have a fire, just get outside, stay outside and call the fire department.

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, Someone died from a fire every 169 minutes in 2014. Countless others suffered burns in the home. Many of these injuries and deaths might have been prevented with a working smoke alarm or some simple home safety tips. With a little thought and preparation, you can protect yourself and the ones you love. Here’s how.

Preventing Burns While Cooking

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s not surprising that most accidental burns occur there. Fortunately, many of these burns can be prevented. Here are a few tips to help you make your kitchen a safer place. 

  • Stay in the kitchen while food is cooking.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove.
  • Keep items such as dish towels, plastic bags, and long sleeves away from the heating surface.
  • Never cook while holding a child or pet.
  • Keep small children and pets away from the front of the oven or stove.

First Aid for Kitchen Burns

If despite your best efforts, you or a family member suffers a burn in the kitchen, follow these first aid tips:

  • Run cool water over the burned area, soak it in cool water (not ice water), or cover it with a clean, cold, wet towel.
  • Cover the burn with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth.
  • Protect the burn from pressure and friction.
  • Use over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain.
  • Do not apply butter, ice, fluffy cotton dressing, adhesive bandages, cream, oil spray, or any household remedy to a burn.
  • If a burn appears to be severe or you develop signs of infection, call your doctor.

Preventing Scalding Burns

Of the many types of burns that can happen in your home, scalds may be the most unexpected. Thousands of people are injured each year by hot liquids and many of them are young children. Children have thinner skin than adults and are more likely to receive severe burns from hot liquid. Simple precautions can protect you and your family from scalding burns

  • Set your hot water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Always test bath water before placing a child in the tub.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back or center of the stove so children cannot tip pots over.
  • Never warm baby bottles in the microwave; they may heat unevenly and can burn your baby’s mouth.
  • Use mugs or coffee cups with lids when you are around children.
  • Keep hot liquids like soup, coffee, or tea away from the edge of counters and tables.

First Aid for Scalding Burns

If you or a family member suffers a scalding burn, take the following steps to start healing:

  • Remove any clothing that is wet from the hot liquid.
  • Slowly cool the injury under running tap water for 30 minutes.
  • Do not apply ice, because it may stop important blood flow to the damaged skin.
  • Do not apply butter or salves to scald injuries.
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