National Burn Awareness Day
Cheshire firefighters are urging residents to be aware of potential hazards and to take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe as part of National Burn Awareness Day.
Held on Wednesday 17 October, the British Burn Association’s annual nation wide initiative aims to raise awareness of the potential dangers in homes and in workplaces that may result in a burn injury.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters and staff work hard to prevent accidents from happening by educating people about the dangers of fire and giving vital home safety advice.
The service is a staunch supporter of National Burn Awareness Day and hopes that it helps to keep more people safe this year than ever before.
Cheshire’s Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Mark Cashin said: "Burn injuries cause lifelong physical and psychological challenges for victims.
“Burns don’t only cause physical wounds, they cause emotional scars too – to both those who suffer the burns and those who feel they may have been in some way responsible.
“With many burns injuries being the result of an accident that could have been prevented,it is essential that people are aware of the potential hazards in their homes –such as unguarded fires and heaters; overloaded plug sockets; hot drinks being drunk around young children; high-temperature bath water; and matches, lighters and hot kettles and saucepans within reach of small hands – and take steps to reduce the risks to themselves and their family members.
“It is also vital that people know what to do in the event of a burn injury. The advice residents need to remember is to cool the burn with running tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound), get help (call an ambulance if it’s a serious injury or otherwise contact your local GP practice for advice), cover the injury with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth and make sure that the patient is kept warm.
“If the burn victim’s clothes are alight they need to stop, drop and roll to put the fire out – i.e. stand still, drop to the floor and roll around.”
Mum-of-one Yvonne Morgan is all too aware of the devastating physical and psychological impact that burns injuries can have.
The 57-year-old from Congleton was struck by a fire ball at a family barbecue four years ago.
Caused by an accelerant being used to get the barbecue started, the fire ball ignited her clothes and caused second and third degree burns covering 30 per cent of her body, including her face, arms and legs.
Yvonne spent three to four days in intensive care and a further four months in hospital and hopes that her accident encourages others to be extra careful in all situations that have the potential to cause burns injuries.
She said: “My life changed in a split second. One minute I was enjoying a barbecue in the sun with family and the next I was burnt from head to foot, not sure if I was going to live or die.
“The accident has had a huge impact on my life, both physically and mentally.
“Physically speaking I have a lot of visible scars on my legs, arms, chest, stomach, hands and face. My skin still feels tight on various parts of my body and is highly sensitive, and I still get very itchy skin sometimes.
“Mentally speaking there is an Yvonne before the accident and an Yvonne after it. Most of the time I am okay but I still get upset and emotional at times. Sometimes it just creeps up on me and other times there will be a trigger, such as seeing an air ambulance or seeing or reading anything involving fire accidents.
“But at the end of the day I am lucky to be alive and cannot stress enough how important it is for people to take note and act on any advice given on National Burn Awareness Day.
“Prevention is better than cure and in most cases, including mine, accidents that lead to burns injuries can be prevented.
“It is also important that people know the correct first aid procedures for burns as these can significantly minimise the scarring and the recovery period.”
Warning - graphic content. A photo of one of the injuries sustained by Yvonne can be found at the bottom of this page.
Most burns injuries occur at home. To reduce the chances of you and your loved ones having an accident please follow this advice:
Install smoke alarms on each floor of your home and test them regularly
Make fire escape plans and practice them with your whole family
Keep secure fireguard screens in front of open fires, heaters and radiators
Don’t leave children unattended in the kitchen or near fires and heaters
Never leave unattended hair straighteners or electrical appliances and devices including laptops plugged in or charging
Don’t drink hot drinks while nursing a baby or child
Keep electric kettles, irons, chemicals, cleaners, acids, matches and lighters out of reach of children
Keep saucepans at the back of the stove, not near the front, and turn the handles to the back
Run cold water first in the bath or sink before adding hot water, and make sure you test the temperature - never put a baby or child into a bath or sink until the water has been tested
Don't overload plug sockets, always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overloading, regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires, keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order and make sure that they have a British or European safety mark
When using a barbecue, ensure that it is on a flat site that is well away from a shed, trees or shrubs; never pour petrol, meths or other accelerants onto the barbecue or leave it unattended; keep children, garden games and pets well away from the cooking area; and keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies.