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February 11, 2011 > National Burn Awareness Week reminds to prevent fires

National Burn Awareness Week reminds to prevent fires

Courtesy of Hayward Fire Department

Each year on average 18,300 Americans are injured, and more than 3,500 die in fires, with children age 14 and under making up 10-15 percent of all fire deaths. Winter season increases the risk of fire, children being more vulnerable. Burn Awareness Week, observed nationally in the first full week in February through February 12 brings to attention ways to prevent fires and protect children. It is an opportunity to take actions that keep their loved ones, and particularly children, safe from fire and burn hazards.

Tips to avoid fire and keep children safe around your house include:

Install tamper-resistant receptacles to prevent a child from sticking an object in the outlet.

Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.

Keep children at least 3 feet from hot stoves and cooking appliances.

When cooking, use back burners with pot handles turned towards the back of the stove.

Do not place hot foods or liquids near the counter's edge or within a child's reach.

Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.

Make the stove area a "kid-free zone" (three feet is a good distance). Mark it on the floor with bright tape.

Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle, portable heater, lit fireplace or stove, or where a hot appliance might be in use.

Establish a safe hot water temperature by setting your water heater to deliver water at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or by installing anti-scald devices.

Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris.

Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Store ashes in fire-resistant containers; cover the container with a lid, and dispose of ashes carefully.

Be careful when using things that get hot such as curling irons, oven, irons, lamps, heaters.

Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets.

Keep space heaters at least four feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials and place them out of the flow of foot traffic.

Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

Always tuck cords from appliances where children cannot reach them and out of the way of foot traffic to avoid a tripping hazard and wear to the cord from walking.

Keep electrical cords out of reach of children.

Install smoke detectors on every level in your home, inside and outside sleeping areas.

Include at least one carbon monoxide detector in addition to installed smoke detectors.

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors each month and replace the batteries at least once a year.

The most common types of burn injuries result from fire or flame burns, scalds and contact burns. Burns are painful and can result in serious scarring and even death. When we take extra caution in our homes to ensure that the curling iron is out of children's reach or pot handles are turned away from the edge of the stove, such injuries are entirely preventable. Keeping our homes safe from fire and preventing devastating burn injuries is a healthy change we can make happen.

For more information on fire safety tips or other Disaster Preparedness please visit and click on "Disaster Preparedness". or contact the Hayward Fire Department Emergency Services Office for additional information at (510) 583-4948.

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