Learn fire safety tips during National Burn Awareness Week

February 5, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 5, 2011

National Burn Awareness Week starts Sunday, and emergency management officials urged residents to use the event to prevent fire-related injuries.

FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy said the week makes for the perfect calendar observance to focus on preventing fires and protecting children. National Burn Awareness Week runs through Feb. 12.

“Children under the age of 5 account for 52 percent of all child fire deaths, and home fires tend to spike in winter months, placing younger children and toddlers at even greater risk,” Murphy said in a release.

FEMA estimates fires injures 18,300 Americans each year, and more than 3,500 people die in fires. Children age 14 and younger make up 10 to 15 percent of all fire deaths.

“Many children are unable to escape from fire on their own, and I encourage parents and caregivers to use National Burn Awareness Week as an opportunity to take actions that keep their loved ones, and particularly children, safe from fire and burn hazards,” Murphy said.

FEMA offers tips for people to avoid fire and keep kids safe around the house:

  • Keep children at least 3 feet from hot stoves and cooking appliances. Use back burners with pot handles turned toward the back of the stove.
  • Have fireplace flues and chimneys inspected for leakage and blockage from creosote or debris.
  • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep the damper open until the ashes cool. Store ashes in fire-resistant containers; cover the container with a lid, and dispose of ashes carefully.
  • Place space heaters on a flat and level floor; do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Place flammable materials out of the flow of foot traffic. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Always tuck cords from appliances in places where children cannot reach them.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level in the home, and inside and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms each month, and replace the batteries at least once per year.

FEMA recommends online resources for fire prevention and education, including materials for children. Safe Kids USA, a national network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional childhood injury, also offers fire-safety information.

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