Is your house burn-proofed?

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Have you done everything you can to minimize the danger of accidental burn injury to yourself or your loved ones?

Darci M. Combs, program coordinator at Grossman Burn Center, San Joaquin Community Hospital, Bakersfield, is intensely concerned about preventing burn injuries.

“The first week of February is Burn Awareness Week,” she said. “We treat hundreds of patients a year and we understand how important the blood product is for recovery. Over 40 percent of the patients we treat are children, and the majority are under age five.”

Most burns suffered by children happen in the home, and many of these are preventable.

Combs is taking part in the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive, set for Feb. 20 here in Ridgecrest. The Houchin Mobile Blood Bank unit will be parked behind the Kerr McGee Center from noon to 6 p.m.

Giving blood is one way you can be a hero in your own community, and help insure there is blood available for those who need it in case of accident, injury, or medical issues.

To burn-proof your home, just follow these suggestions from the Grossman Burn Center:

Housekeeping:

• Keep fire exits and escape routes clutter-free.

• Store flammable materials, such as paint thinner, in original, tightly sealed containers and away from ignition sources.

• Store gasoline and other fuels outdoors and out of reach.

• Keep matches and lighters in a secure place.

• Unplug electrical tools when you’re not using them.

• Ensure that you have smoke detectors in every room in your home. Check the batteries each month and change them once a year.

• Keep kids away from fireplaces. The glass in front of a fireplace can heat up to 200 degrees and cause serious hand burns.

• Check your water heater—120 degrees is sufficient to wash clothes and dishes.

Kitchen:

• Put pans on rear burners.

• Keep hot dishes and drinks away from the edges of counter tops.

• Keep appliance cords, like those for toasters, out of reach.

• Don’t leave food unattended.

• Avoid wearing loose clothing while you’re cooking.

Bathroom:

• If the bathtub water feels a little hot for you, it’s too hot for your child. Test the water by moving your hand back and forth after the tub is filled.

• Never leave your children unattended in the bath tub. It only takes a second for a child to be burned.

“The first few hours are critical when it comes to burns,” said Karen Garner, director of the outpatient Grossman Burn Center. “Often a burn will not appear serious initially. But, if untreated, the burn will become exponentially worse over the next 24 hours. That’s why it’s so important to act quickly.”

If you’re burned:

• Cool the burn with cool or room-temperature water for 15-20 minutes.

• Don’t pop blisters. Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.

• Wash the wound gently with mild soap and water, especially if the blister bursts.

• Do not put butter, toothpaste, mayonnaise, ointments or anything similar on the burn. These keep the heat in, which can make a burn worse.

Contact a burn center:

• If pain, swelling or redness increases, or if you get a fever.

• If the burn is bigger than the palm of your hand.

• If the burn looks white or leathery.

• For any chemical or electrical burn.

• For any burn to the hands, feet, genitals or major body parts.

For more information on the Grossman Burn Center, see www.sjch.us/burncenter, or call 661-869-6135. Ridgecrest Regional Hospital can be reached at 760-446-3551 or www.rrh.org.

Story First Published: 2013-02-13