The first week in February is recognized as Burn Awareness Week. For 2020’s campaign, the American Burn Association is highlighting contact burns. Drexel Heights Fire District acknowledges this important safety topic and would like to share some information about contact burns.

Roughly 70,000 people went to the hospital emergency department because of contact burns in 2018, according to data gathered by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. About one-third of the patients were children under the age of 5.

Here are some safety tips to help avoid contact burns, where someone touches something hot:

• Supervise children around hot object at all times.

• Stand at least 3 feet away from hot outdoor objects. Keep area clear of trip hazards. Limit alcohol consumption.

• Protect your feet from hot objects by wearing shoes when walking on hot pavement or sand. Keep pets off hot pavement too.

• Turn heating pads and blankets off before sleep.

• Have hot pads available whenever cooking. Long oven mitts are best when needing to reach in or over hot surfaces, such in an oven or over a grill. Assume all pots and pans are hot.

• Remember to treat items coming from the microwave as you would items from the oven. Limit microwave use by children.

• Unplug tools such as these when not in use, and always treat as if they are still hot. Keep out of reach of children.

These safety tips from the American Burn Association are a great reminder for our community so we can decrease the number of burn-related incidents our Drexel Heights Firefighters respond to each year. Other things you can do to keep your families safe from fires and burns: have working smoke alarms, make a family escape plan and practice it, learn how to use a fire extinguisher, and consider fire sprinklers which help reduce flame, heat and smoke produced by fire.

Drexel Heights Fire District Board meets on the third Friday of each month at 9 a.m. in the training classroom next to Station No. 1, located at 5030 S. Camino Verde. The public is encouraged to attend. All meetings are handicap accessible and with 10 days written notice, arrangements can be made for the hearing impaired. Your Fire District Board is Chairperson Gary Bynum, Clerk James Bertrand, Member Laura Dailey, Member Charles Mendonca, and Member Charles Zang.

Tracy Koslowski is the public education manager for Drexel Heights Fire District.

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