Spending more time inside has increased the risk of becoming a burn or scald statistic, according to World Plumbing Council.
Burn injuries caused from contact with heating appliances, radiators, and pipes rose from 797 in 2018-2019, to 999 in 2019-2020. Nearly all burn injuries were classified as emergencies. Unfortunately, children aged 0-14 made up 28% of all burn cases and the elderly, 70 and over, made up 36%. Additionally, with more people cooking at home since restaurants have been closed, kitchen fires and cooking accidents have risen.
For plumbers and maintenance workers, chemical and material exposures or burns are most common. Potential hazards are everywhere, including unfamiliar chemicals, electric shock, hot equipment parts, and the release of hot water or steam.
Burn injuries can leave scars beyond physical and can create life-long challenges for the individual and their families.
- Set the thermostat on hot water heaters to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or use the low-medium setting. A child can be scalded in 5 seconds in water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put child-safety covers on all electrical outlets and remove any frayed cords or damaged equipment.
- Keep an emergency ladder on upper floors of buildings in case of a fire. Fire extinguishers should also be readily available in every building.
- Replace smoke detectors that are over 10 years old and ensure the batteries are changed at least twice a year.
- Ensure a fire extinguisher is readily available in every building or room, if applicable.
If you or someone around you is burned:
- Third-degree or major burns require immediate medical attention. They will have a white, leathery appearance. Second-degree burns are blistered and painful. These may require medical location depending on the size and location of the burn, such as if it is on the face or neck.
- If the burn is minor, soak in cool water, use Aloe Vera gel or lidocaine, and keep it clean with loose gauze and antibiotic cream.
- For third-degree burns, call 911 or visit a care center. Do not use cool water or ice on the burn and do your best to make sure no clothing is stuck to it.
Education surrounding burn awareness is essential in decreasing injuries and deaths. Both installing and regularly maintaining plumbing and heating systems is just as important.