Burn Awareness Week

With this being Burn Awareness Week, the Penticton Fire Department is urging residents to slow down and plan ahead to prevent scalds and burns.

"So many burns and scalds can be prevented, and a bit of awareness of your surroundings will go a long way to protecting yourself and loved ones," said Penticton Fire Chief Wayne Williams. "Little things like checking the temperature of the bath water or turning pot handles take only seconds, but can save people from painful scalds from boiling water."

The Penticton Fire Department and the British Columbia Professional Firefighters' Burn Fund support Burn Awareness Week from Feb. 3 to 9. Fire and burn injuries are the second leading cause of accidental death in children aged one to four years, and the third leading cause of injury and death for those aged one to 18.

Every year fires are started by children playing with lighters or matches. Many of these fires are caused by children under the age of five. Children as young as 18 months have caused fires by operating lighters. Disposable lighters sold by retailers must be child-resistant, but remember, child-resistant does not mean child proof. Store lighters out of sight and out of the reach of children and do not remove the child safety devices from the lighter.

Every year an estimated 40 children under the age of 14 die from fires and other burns. Another 770 are hospitalized for serious injuries. Fires and flames account for 34 per cent of hospitalizations and fireplaces and woodstoves account for 7.5 per cent.

A survey suggests that 70% of Canadian parents did not know that the most common cause of burn injuries to children is scalds from hot liquids, such as spilled hot drinks and hot tap water, rather than fire. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, prepackaged microwavable soups are a frequent cause of scald burn injuries - particularly noodle varieties - because they can easily tip over and pour hot liquid and ingredients on to skin.

If someone is burned, it is recommended that they treat it right away. Cool the burn with cool water for three to five minutes, and cover with a clean, dry cloth. If needed, seek medical assistance.