Injury: Burn Awareness
Burns are injuries caused from exposure to fire, heat, or a
heat-producing agent. In 2005, burns
were the cause of death of 61 Wisconsin residents, resulting in 666
hospitalizations, and 7,773 visits to the emergency department.
Nationally, deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of
deaths related to unintentional injury (CDC 2005) and the third leading
cause of fatal home injury (Runyan 2004). The
majority of burn injuries occur in the home where prevention steps can be
General Steps to Protect from
Burns | Special Considerations
Burn Prevention and Safety Resource Links
General Steps to Protect from Burns:
Cook carefully! Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires.
Never leave food
unattended on a stove.
Keep pot handles
Keep cooking areas
free of flammable objects like towels.
When cooking, wear
clothes that fit properly and do not have
long, loose-fitting sleeves.
Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths
Never smoke in bed or leave
burning cigarettes unattended.
Do not empty smoldering ashes in
a trash can.
Keep ashtrays away from
upholstered furniture and curtains.
Use smoke detectors!
Smoke alarms lower the chance of dying in a house fire by 40-50%
Install smoke alarms on all
levels in the home, including basements and attics, and near
rooms where people sleep.
Use long-life smoke alarms with
lithium-powered batteries and hush buttons so you can quiet them
without removing the batteries.
If long-life alarms are not
available, use regular alarms, and replace the batteries
Test all smoke alarms monthly to see that they
Special tips for households with young children
containers of hot liquids/food on or near the edge of furniture.
Donít carry or
eat hot liquids or food while holding a child.
burning candles within the reach of young children.
Always test food
temperatures before serving.
Keep matches and
lighters out of childrenís reach.
Keep water heater
set at 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent scalding; test
water before placing child in bathtub.
electric outlets with safety caps.
Special tips for people with disabilities
Make and practice
escape routes that accommodate physical disabilities and/or
Involve others in
your plan, such as the building manager or a neighbor.
to local fire department staff to share information about your
needs and to ask for their help in developing the safety plan.
emergency dispatchers to keep your special needs information on file.
impaired, install and maintain a flashing or vibrating smoke
alarm on each level of your home.
Poverty limits availability and access to safe and adequate housing
equipped with smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, or multiple escape
- For older adults, decreased hearing capabilities may inhibit hearing a smoke alarm, and
delay the discovery of a fire and delay escape. Older adults living alone
may not have access to help if burned, or access to assistance in escaping
a house fire.
College age adults often share the belief that disaster "cannot
happen to me." Misuse of cooking appliances, overloaded electrical
circuits, multiple extension cords, unattended candles, ignoring fire
alarms when they sound, and unfamiliarity with evacuation routes, can
increase risk of fires and suffering burns. Alcohol use can also decrease
awareness and abilities to effectively escape a burn threat.
For rural residents, use of alternative heating sources
such as wood stoves, electric space heaters, kerosene heaters, and
fireplaces all pose increased risks of fire/burns. Use of chemicals in
farming can expose skin to abrasives.
Multi-level apartment buildings in urban areas often have bars on
windows or locked doors to prevent falls and provide security. Each of
these should have a quick release device allowing them to be opened
immediately in an emergency. People working or living in high-rise
buildings should know the sounds of the building alarms and evacuation
For more information about Burn prevention and safety, visit:
All external hyperlinks are provided for
your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department
of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the
accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.
March 12, 2013