Don’t Get Burned: Know the Top Rules of Fire Safety

Don’t Get Burned: Know the Top Rules of Fire Safety

We were all taught basic fire safety and burn prevention sometime way back in elementary school, but chances are it didn’t sink in. Now that we’re responsible adults, we could probably use a refresher course. So here it is.

Follow along as we take you on a tour of the typical dwelling and highlight some of the top tips for protecting what matters most — your home and family.

TOP 2 RULES OF FIRE SAFETY:

These rules are non-negotiable and apply to all situations at all times.

  1. Don’t leave fires, candles, stoves, space heaters, BBQs, etc. lit or unattended
  2. Keep small children and pets away from all flammable heat sources

If a fire does occur:

  • Don’t panic
  • Remove yourself from whatever is burning; stop, drop and roll
  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand; if hot, don’t open
  • Stay low to the ground and follow your escape plan
  • Call 911 and seek treatment for burns

Salil Gulati, MD, plastic surgeon and burn specialist at Medical City Plano, discusses what do if you’re burned. His number one piece of advice, “Don’t panic.”

WHOLE HOUSE SAFETY:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom and hallway and replace batteries yearly
  • Have your wiring checked at least every 10 years
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher and keep at least one in your home
  • Create a family escape plan and outside meeting spot

LIVING ROOM:

  • Be aware that 30 percent of home-heating fires happen between 5 to 9 p.m.
  • One-third occur because the heat source is too close to flammable items
  • Space heaters are responsible for roughly one-third of all home-heating fires and 80 percent of home-heating fire deaths
  • Place space heaters on a solid, flat surface three feet away from anything that can burn and inspect annually for worn, broken or cracked connections
  • Don’t use for cooking, drying clothes, warming bedding or thawing pipes

KITCHEN:

  • Keep an eye on what you fry: most cooking fires involve fried foods
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove or use back burners
  • Wear oven mitts and roll up long sleeves
  • Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet nearby to smother flames
  • This is a good place for a fire extinguisher

BEDROOM:

  • Heating pads and electric blankets cause nearly 500 fires a year
  • Most of these involve items over 10 years old, so inspect and replace
  • Don’t put anything on top of (or fold or tuck in) when in use as it can cause them to overheat
  • Never use while sleeping

BATHROOM:

  • Spot the hot: scalding hot water (and cooking liquids) are the No. 1 way children get burned
  • Set your hot water heater to 120°F or low-med; hotter water can burn in 2 to 3 seconds
  • Check water temp before entering the shower or putting children in a bath
  • Unplug irons, curling irons and other electrical devices when not in use

FIREPLACE AND CHIMNEY:

  • Burn only seasoned, dry wood; green or wet wood can smoke and cause creosote buildup
  • Burning anything else, such as wrapping paper, pizza boxes, pressed wood products and synthetics like Styrofoam produces extreme heat and flames as well as toxic black smoke
  • Never put flammables, such as area rugs or pet beds, in front of a fireplace
  • Never use lighter fluid or charcoal to start your fire
  • Have your chimney professionally inspected at least once a year for soundness, deposit buildup and correct clearances
  • Ask for a Level 1 chimney inspection and chimney sweeping; if the sweep doesn’t know what you’re talking about, find one that does

BBQ:

  • Use propane and charcoal BBQ grills outdoors only
  • Place well away from structures and overhanging branches
  • Keep your grill clean; remove grease or fat buildup from grates and drip trays
  • Gas grills account for 4 out of 5 grill fires, so check for leaks or cracks in the hoses and connections annually; here’s how:
    • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle
    • Turn on the propane tank; if there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see)
    • No bubbles means your grill is safe; bubbles indicate your grill needs servicing before use

OUTDOOR PIT

  • Place outdoor pits on concrete, dirt or gravel in flat, open areas away from trees and structures
  • Always use a fire screen and have a fire extinguisher handy
  • Place nonflammable seating four feet from fires
  • Don’t light in windy conditions
  • Extinguish completely before leaving
  • Use only seasoned woods to light/maintain fire; never use accelerants, garbage or other materials

If despite your careful planning you need burn treatment, The Medical Center of Plano Burn & Reconstructive Centers of Texas’ dedicated burn unit provides high-level burn care and serves patients from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and beyond.

If you need burn care, call (855) 863-9595.

For fast, emergency help with these common health symptoms and more, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City ER near you or call our free 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

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Sources/Links:
http://www.csia.org/about-csia/faq.aspx#7
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/staying-healthy/first-aid/burns-preventing-burns-in-your-home.html
http://www.ameriburn.org/resources_factsheet.php
https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/heating.html
http://www.safetyrisk.net/fire-pit-safety/
http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/grilling
http://www.nfpa.org/press-room/news-releases/2010/space-heaters-involved-in-79-percent-of-fatal-home-heating-fires

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