The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 1 million burn injuries require medical attention every year. Although not all burns require medical attention, there are plenty of ways to safeguard yourself from otherwise preventable burns.
Whether you have a family with small children or live by yourself in an apartment, here are some tips to consider to reduce your risk of burns and fire in your home.
Always Have Working Smoke Detectors
Regardless if you rent or own, you should have at least one smoke detector on every floor of your home. If you rent and there are none in your apartment, talk to the property owner right away.
Even though it can be annoying when you accidentally set off your smoke detector when cooking, you should never take the batteries out of the smoke alarm. Check to make sure your detector works frequently and change your batteries at least once a year. Many people change their batteries during the time change in the fall and spring.
Smoke detectors expire after ten years but don’t hesitate to replace sooner.
Have a Fire Extinguisher in Your Home
Fire extinguishers are essential to have on hand if you have a small grease fire or a fire in your laundry room. While fire extinguishers are designed to control a small fire, don’t attempt to use the extinguisher if the fire is out of control or if you need to get out of your home immediately.
Have a Safety Plan
Even if you live alone, it’s important to have a plan for what to do if there’s a fire that you can’t control (such as with an extinguisher). If you live in an apartment that’s not ground level, how will you get out? Is there a fire escape? Do you have a ladder?
Make a plan with your family, including your children, and what to do with your pets.
Never Leave Heat Sources Unattended
If you use a space heater, wood stove, or another heat source that’s not part of your HVAC system, it’s important that you never leave them unattended. Space heaters fall over and start a fire or end up burning small children. Know how to use your heat source carefully and keep small children at a safe distance.
Use Caution in the Kitchen
Small children are prone to burn injuries in the kitchen when pots are too close to the edge of the stovetop. Other appliances that can cause burns include coffee makers, slow cookers, and electric griddles.
Even if you don’t have small children, use caution when boiling water, cooking food, and using other appliances so that you don’t accidentally knock them over or spill on yourself.
Know When to Seek Attention for a Burn
Not all burns require medical attention but you should always watch a burn carefully. If your child receives a burn, it’s smart to contact a medical professional right away to see if you need medical attention.
Burns that are painful or blister don’t necessarily need professional assessment but anything larger than 3 inches in diameter, requires a phone call or a trip to the ER. Check out these burn signs.