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  • February 4-10th is National Burn Awareness Week

    Every February, the American Burn Association (ABA) sponsors a weeklong awareness campaign meant to reduce burn injuries in Americans. This year’s campaign, which takes place next month from the 4th to the 10th, focuses on how to reduce flammable liquid burn injuries. Any liquid with a flash point under 100 degrees Fahrenheit is considered flammable, such as acetone, gasoline, diethyl ether, toluene, alcohols and more. A flash point refers to the lowest temperature at which there is sufficient flammable vapor to support combustion when an ignition source is applied. In preparation for next month’s National Burn Awareness Week, let’s review some important burn awareness and prevention tips to limit serious — and sometimes fatal – injuries.

    According to the ABA’s most up-to-date data on burn injuries across the country, 486,000 individuals with burn injuries received medical treatment in 2016. More than 3,270 people died from smoke or fire inhalation-related injuries that same year. Before getting into more specifics, here are some of the agency’s general tips for preventing burns when you are handling flammable liquids:

    • Always fuel lawnmowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, and weed eaters when the engines are cool and in an open area outdoors
    • Never use an accelerant, like gasoline, kerosene, or aerosol sprays, to start a campfire
    • When you are purchasing a gas can, be sure that it has a fuel arrestor on the can to prevent flashback

    Cooking Safety for All Ages

    Cooking at home can be a great way to unwind after a long day or to bond with your family, but the ABA reports that nearly half (47%) of home fires are caused by cooking. The agency reports that adults over the age of 65 face much higher risks of injury and death from a kitchen fire due to physical, visual, hearing and/or mental impairments that can slow their reaction time in the face of an emergency. Additionally, the thinner skin of adults burns much faster and more easily than younger individuals. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to prevent a cooking-related fire from starting in the first place. Here are some examples of how:

    • The best time to cook is when you are wide awake, not when you are drowsy or tired from medications and/or alcohol
    • Always wipe clean the stove, oven and exhaust fan to prevent grease from building up dangerously
    • Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when you are cooking
    • Keep a pan lid or dry potholders or oven mitts near you EVERY time you cook
    • Turn pot or pan handles towards the back of the stove
    • When heating food in the microwave, use microwave-safe cookware that allows steam to escape
    • Allow food to rest before removing it from the microwave
    • When frying, use a pan lid or splash guard to prevent grease splatter
    • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the room, turn off the stove
    • If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly. Remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you about checking it
    • After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure you turned off all burners and any other appliances

    Gasoline Safety Tips

    Gasoline is a top contributing factor for thermal burns; thermal burns are caused by excessive heat. The ABA estimates that accidents with gasoline account for about 13,000 to 15,000 emergency department visits each year. To reduce known dangers associated with gasoline, please be sure to observe the following precautions:

    • Use gasoline outdoors only
    • Store gasoline in a cool, well-ventilated area
    • Start charcoal grills only with fluid labeled as “charcoal started fluid”
    • Keep gasoline in a secure location, out of reach of children
    • Use containers that have been listed, labeled, or approved for gasoline
    • Fill equipment with gasoline when engines are cool
    • NEVER siphon gasoline by mouth, use gasoline near a flame source like burning leaves or brush, induce vomiting if gasoline is swallowed, use gasoline as a cleaning fluid or solvent, store gasoline in the house or dispense gasoline in a portable container while it is located inside a vehicle or pickup truck bed

    How to Avoid Non-Fire Cooking Burns

    Data shows that most burns associated with cooking that occurred during a five-year period of time were caused by contact with a hot object or liquid rather than by contact with fire and/or flame. The ABA reports that children under five face a higher risk of sustaining non-fire cooking burns than older individuals. Taking precautions is the best way to prevent this type of injury from happening, so here are some helpful tips and information to refer to:

    • Ranges and ovens were the most common cooking equipment involved in non-fire cooking burns; all in all, only 14% of thermal burns that involved ranges or ovens were due to contact with fire or flame
    • Be wary of tableware. Although tableware is not itself used for cooking, it often holds very hot food, soups and/or drinks and may be quite hot itself
    • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the table and counter edges
    • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drink is being prepared or being carried
    • Never hold a child while you are cooking, drinking a hot liquid or carrying hot foods and/or liquids

    In the event of a burn injury, the ABA recommends smothering any flames on the clothing and, if possible, removing the victim from the flame source. Call 9-1-1 and cool the burn with cool (not cold!) water to stop the burning process. As you are waiting for professional help, remove all clothing from the injury site, cover the area with a clean, dry bandage.

    If you have questions about a burn injury that you are a loved one sustained, someone at our firm can help. Here are two examples of our burn injury recoveries:

    $10.65 Million Dollar Recovery for Fatally Burned Worker and His Injured Co-Worker – The family of a maintenance worker and his co-worker will share in the recovery of a $10.65 million dollar settlement paid by four companies in an accident at an automotive battery company that left one man dead and another man burnt in both of his thigh areas. Of the settlement, $6.6 million will go to the family of the deceased worker while $4 million will go to the burnt production worker.

    $4.25 Million Recovery for Severely Burned Steelworkers. –  Galfand Berger recovered $4.25 million dollars for two Steelworkers, who were severely burned when molten metal poured from a defective furnace

    Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

    1-800-222-USWA (8792)