National Burn Awareness Week was Feb. 2-8.
Because burn injuries are common in the U.S., especially among children, increasing awareness about how to prevent burn injuries and knowing what to do if you get burned is especially crucial.
The three most common types of burns are electrical, chemical and thermal.
Help prevent electrical burns by installing outlet plug covers, using extension cords wisely by not exceeding the load rating, discarding damaged cords and unplugging appliances before repairing them.
Also, never use electrical appliances such as hair dryers, electric shavers, or curling irons near water.
Prevent chemical burns by using cabinet locks to prevent children from accessing any stored chemicals.
Use caution when purchasing chemicals and, when possible, try to select chemicals that are less toxic and therefore less dangerous to children should they be accidentally exposed.
Many thermal burns occur outdoors (sun exposure) and in the kitchen and bathroom.
To prevent thermal burns, apply sunscreen and limit your sun exposure.
In the kitch-en, turn pot handles toward the center of your stove so they cannot be easily bumped. Use back burners when children are present; use splatter shields when frying; and monitor children near the stove. Be cautious when moving hot pots or uncovering hot microwaved items. Use heat-resistant pot holders for both hands.
In the bathroom, unplug hair dryers and curling irons when they are not in use and keep them out of reach of children.
Adjust bath water for younger children, ensuring that it is not warmer than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Treatment varies depending on the type of burn.
For electrical burns, protect yourself by not going near or touching the victim until you are sure the power has been turned off, the plug has been disconnected from the source, or the victim is free from electricity.
For both wet and dry chemical burns, treatment involves removal of the product according to the label directions and instructions from Poison Control (1-800-222-1222).
Treatment for thermal burns is dependent on many factors including the type of burn, severity, the person's medical history, age and condition.
Many situations can be addressed with basic first aid while others require professional medical treatment.
Washington Township Fire Department Fire Marshal Alan Perkins submitted the Smoke Signals column.