Did you know that the National Burn Awareness Week starts on February 7th?  This year’s theme is Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap (A to Z)!  Yes, you can get burned by electricity.  In fact, there are several sources that can burn you, including: electricity, heat, chemicals, radiation, or sunlight (UV light).

Each year, almost half a million people go to emergency departments for burns.  Children, the elderly, and the disabled are at a higher risk for burns, although accidental burns can happen to anyone!  Most of the injuries happen in our homes from unprotected electrical outlets, improperly used extension cords, and lightning,

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reminds us that there are several ways you can make your home safer, and keep your family members safe:

  • To prevent shock, keep electrical devices and outlets away from water.
  • Appliances should be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
  • Check electrical cords often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical or extension cords.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • All wall outlets and switches should be covered with wall plates.
  • Replace wall outlets if plugs do not fit snugly.
  • Always stay back at least 20 feet and call 9-1-1 when you spot a down power line.

Contact a qualified electrician (or your landlord) if you have:

  • frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • a tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • discolored or warm wall outlets or switches
  • a burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • flickering or dimming lights
  • sparks from an outlet

If you or someone you know gets burned, seek medical attention, or call 9-1-1, if the burn is:

  • on the face, hands, feet, major joints, or genital area and/or bigger than the injured person’s palm
  • white, tight, leathery, or painless
  • caused by chemicals or electricity
  • causing difficulty breathing

According to the NFPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “…what you do to treat a burn in the first few minutes after it occurs can make a huge difference..”

  1. “Stop, Drop, and Roll” to smother flames.
  2. Treat a burn right away by putting it in cool water for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Removed all burned clothing. If clothing sticks to the skin, cut or tear around the burned area.
  4. Remove all jewelry, belts, tight clothing, etc., from over the burned areas and from the person’s neck.

Remember, too, to have working smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside each bedroom area, and on every level of your home.  Plan and practice your home escape plan.


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