National Burn Awareness Week Raises Awareness and Prevents Burn Injuries


In recognition of 2020 National Burn Awareness Week, which runs Feb. 2-8, Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey reminds residents of the causes of burn injuries and the resources of burn care available.

National Burn Awareness Week is an opportunity for fire, health, and medical professionals to review some simple safety steps people can take to prevent burn injuries at home, at work, and outdoors.

This year’s theme from the American Burn Association is Contact Burns – Hot Surfaces Damage Skin.

Touching a hot object causes what medical professionals call a contact burn.

Touching heating and cooking equipment, other hot household items (like clothes irons), and walking barefoot on hot pavement are the leading causes of contact burns to young children.

Most “fire-related injuries” are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

“We’ve all suffered minor burns before from hot coffee or a candle or something. You know it can be incredibly painful. But imagine suffering a second, third, or fourth degree burn,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Causey. “These types of injuries are so severe, it can leave you with physical and emotional trauma. Our goal during National Burn Awareness Week is to bring awareness to the different causes of burn injuries and provide resources to help keep our residents safe.”

According to the American Burn Association, burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in the United States with approximately 486,000 people receiving treatment of burn injuries annually. Almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15.

To prevent burns from fires and scalding, State Fire Marshal Causey offers these important safety tips:

Be “alarmed”

Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home—on every floor and near all rooms that family members sleep in. Test your smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working properly. Use long life batteries when possible.

Have an escape plan

Create and practice a family fire escape plan and involve kids in the planning. Make sure everyone knows at least two ways out of every room and identify a central meeting place outside.

Cook with care

Use safe cooking practices, such as never leaving food on the stove unattended. Also, supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens and microwaves.

Check water heater temperature

Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Infants and small children may not be able to get away from water that may be too hot.  Maintaining a constant thermostat setting can help control the water temperature throughout your home. Test the water at the tap if possible.

In addition to burn safety, State Fire Marshal Causey is kicking off National Burn Awareness Week by providing carbon monoxide alarms and educational materials to residents in need.  On Tuesday, Feb. 4, NCDOI-OSFM is teaming with Kidde and the Durham Fire Department to host a press event at Durham Fire Station #1 to discuss the importance of carbon monoxide alarms.

Kidde will be providing 500 carbon monoxide alarms to the Durham Fire Department to help out the citizens of McDougal Terrace after hundreds of residents were evacuated several weeks ago due to threats of carbon monoxide exposure. OSFM will give 500 educational bags to Durham Fire to give each home that receives a carbon monoxide alarm.

For more information and safety tips, visit the fire and burn prevention section of the Safe Kids North Carolina website or contact Safe Kids North Carolina Director Shannon Bullock at [email protected].


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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.