In 2021 emergency rooms nationwide treated an estimated 193,450 burn injuries involving many types of consumer products, from kitchen and cooking products to fireworks and space heaters. In recognition of Burn Awareness Week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to be vigilant about fire safety and to check for product recalls.
Children under 10 years old are especially vulnerable and accounted for 26 percent of burn injuries treated in 2021. Nearly half of those injuries were to the upper extremities, from shoulders to fingers and more than a third specifically to the hands and fingers.
The vast majority of burn incidents are preventable. Here are a few tips to keep safe:
- Candles: Use flashlights instead of candles. If using candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire, never leave them burning unattended and extinguish candles when leaving the room and before sleeping.
- Cooking Care: Keep children away from the cooking area, and keep flammable items, like potholders and paper or plastic bags, away from the stove and oven.
- All Clothing Burns: Keep all clothing away from flames and ignition sources. Loose clothing can catch fire easily.
- Space Heater Safety: Keep hands and fingers away and give the space heater some space – at least three feet. Loose flammable items in close proximity to a space heater can catch fire.
- If You Smoke: Smoking materials can ignite clothing. Don’t smoke while drowsy; safely extinguish smoking material.
According to the CDC and the National Fire Prevention Association, if clothing does catch fire, stop (don’t run), drop and roll. Cover your face. Roll until the fire is out. If you’re not able to drop, use something like a blanket to put out the flames. Run cool water on your burn until emergency responders arrive.
Beyond incidents involving consumer products, unintentional residential fires cause nearly 2,400 deaths and about 10,900 injuries yearly, according to CPSC data. The data also show that African Americans have the highest rate of deaths from fire, nearly twice the overall rate across the population.
Seconds matter when safety is on the line. Here are a few tips to be fire safe:
- Fire Extinguisher: Have a fire extinguisher nearby, and place working smoke alarms on every floor outside sleeping areas and inside bedrooms.
- Charging Batteries: Always be present when charging devices using lithium-ion batteries, using the charger that came with your device. Unplug the device when properly charged and never charge them while sleeping.
- Fire Escape Plan: Create an escape plan and make sure everyone practices it. Make sure there are two ways out of each room, as well as a path to the outside from each exit. Once out, stay out of the house.
- Close bedroom doors: During a fire, closed bedroom doors can slow the spread and allow extra moments to get to safety.
Check for recalled products
Check to see if regularly used products have been recalled at www.cpsc.gov/recalls. If a product has been recalled, stop using it immediately and contact the recalling company for the remedy – a refund, repair or replacement.