How Are Families Preventing Burn Injuries?
Preventing burn injuries is possible. Every year, fire takes thousands of lives. These deaths and injuries are needless, tragic, and preventable. Burn injuries force victims to endure endless surgeries, painful healing, and disfiguring scars. Whether these injuries occur as a result of explosion, house fire, or care fire, they have one thing in common. And, that is: burn injuries may be less likely with better knowledge of fire safety.
Responsible parents always make time to teach children specifics of fire safety. Schools, as well, should be educating students of appropriate ages about the importance of fire safety. There are dozens of ways of preventing burn injuries. This starts with basic education on what to do in the event of a fire.
Shaked Law Firm will explain the importance of adequate fire safety, education, and preventing burn injuries.
What causes burn injuries?
Preventing burn injuries begins with understanding what causes fire, and therefore burns, to begin with.
- Thermal burns. Explosions, flame, hot liquid, and coming into contact with heated materials such as glass or hot coal.
- Chemical burns. These burns are caused by strong acids or alkali-containing substances. Chemical burns require specialized and immediate care to prevent further injury to the skin. Many chemicals can also be fatal if inhaled.
- Electrical burns. The name is exactly as it implies, and these burns are caused by electricity (lightning strikes are considered electrical burns!). These burns must be treated by medical professionals even if there is no outward evidence of injury, as internal damage is most often the cause of fatalities with electrical burns.
What can families do to aid in preventing burn injuries?
When it comes to fire safety, the American Red Cross offers the following tips:
- Smoke alarms. Smoke detectors are necessary on every floor of a home. They require regular (twice yearly) checks to ensure proper functioning. If they stop working, replace the batteries. If necessary, replace the entire unit. Regardless of function, batteries need replacing every six months anyway! (Hear an ear splitting chirp at 2am? It’s time to replace those batteries!)
- Have a plan. In the event of a fire, a plan must be in place for safe evacuation of the home. Practice the plan at least two times per year. Remind minors of the importance of the plan, and encourage any questions. Practicing the fire safety plan is the time to educate minors. Never play with matches! Do not touch the stove! These things may seem obvious to adults, but minors need reminding.
- Get out and stay out! If, unfortunately, a house fire occurs even with safety measures in place: DO NOT GO BACK INTO THE HOUSE FOR ANY REASON! Call 911. Make sure everyone stays a safe distance away from the burning structure. As devastating as fires are, never allow family members to go back into the home for any reason. Material possessions are replaceable. Firefighters on the scene will do their best to retrieve trapped pets whenever possible.
Local fire stations will send a firefighter to help disabled or elderly residents install smoke alarms, if need be!
What are “degrees” of burn injuries?
Next, it’s important to understand that burn injuries have different classifications. To understand the medical side of burn injuries, we explain the degrees of these injuries below:
- First Degree Burns. Reddening of the skin, no blistering. A mild to moderate sunburn can be considered a first degree burn if the skin does not peel or blister.
- Second Degree Burns. Blisters and thickening of the skin. This can be either partial or full thickness. Full thickness may require skin grafting surgery to reduce scarring and deter infection.
- Third Degree Burns. An overall thickness burn with a white scar tissue. These are muscle-deep. There are burns that doctors refer to as “fourth degree”, but victims tragically do not survive them. Usually, it’s a combination of infection and smoke inhalation that cause these deaths. These are injuries so severe that muscle, tendon, and even bone suffer burns.
What happens as a result of catastrophic burn injuries?
Accidents happen, and people suffer burn injuries. However, there are measures to reduce the amount of injuries that occur in the event that a fire does occur.
What happens if clothes catch fire?
- In the event you find that clothes are on fire, victims should immediately stop what they’re doing.
- Drop immediately to the ground and cover the face!
- There is a fear of being on fire that causes the natural urge to run. However, the Red Cross strongly enforces that one should NEVER RUN if they find themselves on fire. This can cause fire to spread. Instead, firefighters recommend victims who find themselves on fire immediately roll over repeatedly after dropping to the ground.
What happens after an accident with burn injuries?
Once the flames are out, immediately douse the victim with cold water for three to five minutes. While doing this, have someone else call 911. The faster 911 arrives, the more quickly the victim can get to the hospital. Burns are catastrophic and infection risk rises with every passing minute. There is no time to waste when dealing with burn injuries.
The road to recovery on the medical side of burn injuries is long. However, the legal side of these injuries is a necessity as well. Whenever possible, consult with a Personal Injury lawyer to discuss the steps necessary to pursue litigation on behalf of a victim with burn injuries.
Quick tips for fire safety
- Never allow children to touch matches or lighters. Keep these items out of reach at all times and explain why you are doing so.
- Keep the family fire safety plan up to date and enact a new plan when moving to a new home. Each home is different, thus evacuating in an emergency needs updating. Practice the plan twice a year and help minors by going over it with them more often.
- Check the batteries on every smoke alarm in the home once a month to ensure they are all in working order.
- Remember to Stop, Drop, and Roll if you find yourself or your clothes on fire. Immediately call 911. Do not run.