Burn Injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in the United States.
Children, senior adults and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable to burn injuries. Almost one-third of all burn injuries happen to children under age 15.
Annually, about 400,000 people receive medical care for treatment of burn injuries. In 2018 alone, there were 3,655 deaths from fire and smoke inhalation, and another 40,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn-related injuries.
Compared with the overall population, children under 5 were two times as likely to be seen for burn injuries at a hospital emergency department.
The primary causes of injury include fire-flame, scalds, and contact with hot objects, electrical sources and chemicals. Most of the injuries occur in the home.
Today, 96.8 percent of those who suffer burn injuries will survive. Unfortunately, many of those survivors will sustain serious scarring, lifelong physical disabilities and adjustment difficulties.
National Burn Awareness Week will be observed Feb. 7-13. The initiative of the American Burn Association brings together burn-, fire- and life-safety educators to make the public aware of the frequency, devastation and causes of burn injury as well as measures to prevent these injuries and how to best care for those who are injured.
This year’s theme is Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap! A common risk of injury exists from unprotected electrical outlets, improperly used extension cords, lightning and workplace electrical injuries.
Significant research and medical advances have dramatically improved burn care and treatment, aided rehabilitation, shortened hospital stays and increased burn survival rates. Aftercare support for the physical and emotional effects of burns has also played a key role in the successful reintegration of burn survivors into their communities.
Burn safety education and prevention efforts continue to reduce the number of people who suffer burns each year. Many people devote their lives and careers to treating, caring for, supporting and rehabilitating burn injury survivors, including those performing vital work in burn research and development.
There are dedicated firefighters who risk their own lives every day to protect others, as well as burn foundations and other life-safety professionals who promote burn injury awareness and prevention. For more information, contact the Delaware State Fire School or go to ameriburn.org.