Burn Prevention and Fire Safety Tips

To read the Burn Prevention and Fire Safety Tips, use any of the links below.

To obtain a copy as a PDF (portable document format) file, click here.

tips for preventing Scald Burns

Safety Tips to Prevent Scald Injuries

A scald is any burn caused by a hot liquid or steam. Bathing and kitchen-related accidents are the most common causes of scalds and CAN be prevented. The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas offers tips to help make your home a safe environment in its “Hot Liquids Burn” brochure (funded by the Department of Homeland Security-United States Fire Administration Fire Prevention and Safety Grant).

If someone should sustain a scald injury, The Burn Center recommends the following:

  1. Remove any wet clothing and run cool water over the burn to slow down the burning process.
  2. Avoid using home remedies or ice which often makes a burn worse.
  3. Seek IMMEDIATE medical attention by calling 9-1-1, visiting your physician or seeking emergency care at a hospital/burn center. Delaying treatment can result in a more serious injury.
Hot Liquids Burn - Prevention & Safety Tips

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  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep the stovetop and oven clean, as buildup of grease and debris can ignite easily.
  • Keep stove area clear flammable materials. Don't leave oven mitts, paper or cloth towels near the stove.
  • Dishtowels should never be hung on the oven door.
  • Do not place or spray aerosols near an open flame.
  • Cook on back burners and turn pot handles in to prevent accidental spillage.
  • Wear close fitting clothes and roll up sleeves. Turn stovetop flames off before reaching above the stove.

    Microwave Ovens

  • Use only containers designed for microwave use.
  • Allow food to cool before removing it from the microwave.
  • Prevent steam burns by removing lids carefully. Stir thoroughly to distribute heat evenly.
  • Never microwave a baby bottle.

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KID'S CORNER Kid's corner

  • Create a “kid free zone” around the stove/oven.
  • Do not allow appliance cords to dangle within reach of small children.
  • Keep hot liquids out of reach of children.
  • Do not use tablecloths or placemats when small children are present.
  • Do not cook at the stove, eat or drink hot foods while holding a child.
  • Keep children out of the kitchen during hectic meal preparations. Assign older children to be responsible for younger children during this time if necessary.
  • Store all matches and lighters up high, out of children's reach.
  • Use child resistant lighters.

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Bathroom Safety

  • Set water heaters at 120 F. Anything higher puts those in your household; especially small children and the elderly, at risk for scald injuries.
  • Do not use hairdryers or other electrical appliances near the sink or a full tub.
  • When preparing a bath for small children, remember to keep the water temperature no more than 101° F as their skin is more sensitive to heat. Have the children test the water themselves before getting in.

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  • Space heaters need space - at least three feet away from anything that can burn - including furniture, drapes and rugs.
  • Keep children and pets away from all heaters.
  • Never leave heaters unattended.
  • Refuel kerosene heaters with kerosene only, outside, after the heater has cooled.
  • Always use an approved glass or metal protective screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Store flammable materials like newspaper, kindling or wood away from stoves and fireplaces.
  • Do not use throw rugs in front of the stove or fireplace.
  • Have your chimney inspected by a professional once a year and have it cleaned if necessary.
  • Use only dry seasoned wood in wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Addition of wood and attendance to the fire should be the responsibility of an adult.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available.
  • Never dispose of ashes, hot or cold, in anything but a metal can or bin.

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BASEMENT Basement Safety

  • Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original, labeled containers with tight fitting lids and away from heat sources.
  • Remove trash from your home.
  • Don’t store anything near a furnace or water heater.
  • Clean the lint trap on the clothes dryer after each use.
  • If flooding occurs, turn off electrical circuits before stepping into the water.

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SMOKERS smokers

  • Never smoke in bed or near flammables.
  • Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays and douse butts with water before discarding them.
  • Douse butts with water before discarding them.
  • Check around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes before going to bed.

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  • Gasoline should always be stored outside in a detached shed or garage, in small amounts, in an approved, sealed container out of reach of children.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquid as a cleaning agent.
  • Never fill gasoline motors in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Before starting a lawnmower, snow blower, or motorcycle; move it away from gasoline fumes.
  • Let small motors cool before you refuel them.


  • Never use gasoline to enhance or start a fire.
  • Don’t add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started (use dry kindling to revive the flame).
  • Use grills outside only, well away from buildings, vegetation and other combustibles.
  • Supervise children carefully when a grill is used.
  • Never allow horseplay around the grill.

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APARTMENT / DORM SAFETYApartment/Dorm Safety

  • Know where the nearest stairwell is located.
  • Count how many doors are between your dwelling and the stairwell. (In a fire, the smoke can be so thick you will have no visibility and you need to know your way out without the benefit of vision)
  • Contact the building management and/or your local fire department for proper evacuation procedures.
  • Never use an elevator in the event of a fire.

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  • Never allow an electrical appliance or its cord come in contact with water unless that is what it was designed for (per manufacturers instructions).
  • If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug immediately and have it serviced.
  • Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed.
  • Don’t overload extension cords or outlets.
  • Never connect more than two extension cords.
  • Never run electrical cords under rugs.
  • Don’t tamper with the fuse box or use improperly sized fuses.
  • Don’t place flammable objects on or near light bulbs.
  • Always follow manufacturers instructions on type of light bulb and wattage for a light.

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SMOKE DETECTORSsmoke detector

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each bedroom.
  • Do not install a smoke detector near cooking vapors.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly, following manufacturers instructions.
  • Change batteries twice a year on daylight savings, or whenever you hear a “chirp” indicating a low battery. Follow manufacturers instructions for long life batteries.
  • Never borrow or remove batteries from a smoke detector.
  • Replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old, the effectiveness is not guaranteed.
  • Vacuum smoke detectors to keep them dust free and functioning.
  • CO is a tasteless, odorless, colorless poisonous gas. Every home should also have at least one carbon monoxide detector.

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To create your own Fire Escape Plan, click here to access a blank template, available as a PDF file.

  • A working smoke detector is the most important part of a fire escape plan.
  • NEVER ignore a fire alarm!
  • Most residential fires occur between midnight and six a.m.
  • In the event of a fire, you have less than two minutes to escape safely.
  • Prepare for an emergency by designing an escape plan with the entire family.
  • Know two unobstructed ways out of each room.
  • Feel all doors for evidence of heat before opening them.
  • Close doors behind you to hinder the spread of fire.
  • Close room doors before opening windows.
  • If your escape route involves an upper level window, be sure to plan a safe way of getting to the ground.
  • Decide on a meeting place. Pick a place that is safely away from the home but not across a busy street. The entire household should agree on a spot (mailbox, tree, neighbors house) and know to meet there in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice your escape plan with the entire household at least twice a year.
  • Remember to crawl low under smoke.
  • Stop, Drop and Roll if your clothing catches on fire.

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