Is your family fire safe?

HARRISBURG – State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego is encouraging Pennsylvanians to learn more about burn hazards, and how to avoid injury in observance of National Burn Awareness Week, running from February 7th through February 13th.

Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury throughout the country and disproportionately affects children, the elderly, and those with access and functional needs, according to the American Burn Association.

Almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15.

“Children are especially vulnerable to the dangers of burns,” Trego said. “We know that those under the age of five are nearly twice as likely as the general population to experience a serious burn injury bad enough to require emergency treatment.  Upwards of 400,000 a year are treated for burns at medical facilities, while fire and smoke inhalation kills nearly 3,700 people.”

National Burn Awareness Week, is a coordinated effort between burn, fire, and life safety educators to increase public awareness of the frequency, impact and causes of burn injuries as well as measures they can take to effectively mitigate the risks of these injuries and care for those that are affected.

This year’s theme is “Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap,” noting how often injuries arise form unprotected electrical outlets, improperly used extension cords, lighting and workplace electrical injuries.

Following a few simple precautions will help keep you, your little chef and your entire family safe from potential burns:

  • Cool a burn under cold running water for 10-15 minutes and call 9-1-1 for serious burns.
  • Always supervise children in the kitchen and dining areas.
  • Create a “No Child Zone” while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages.
  • Avoid carrying or holding a child while cooking or near the stove. Instead, place the child into a highchair or another safe area while cooking.
  • Children love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from its edge; also, keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
  • Keep clothing from coming in contact with flames or heating elements.
  • A small adjustment to your water heater can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
  • Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline, and lighters in a safe place out of children’s reach and avoid novelty lighters as they may look like toys in a child’s eyes.
  • When filling the bathtub turn on cold water first then mix in warmer water carefully.

Visit for additional fire safety tips and burn awareness content.  The ReadyPA monthly preparedness newsletter will also include safety in the home and carbon monoxide safety tips.