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Fire safety: Burns injure nearly half a million people each year

PIKESVILLE, Md. --  The Office of the State Fire Marshal reminds all Marylanders that burn injuries occur from other sources than fire.  Each year, many young children, adolescents and adults experience serious burn injuries from chemical, hot liquids, heated devices and fire related incidents. Almost one-quarter of all burn injuries occur in children under the age of 15.  Burn safety advocates nationwide make a collaborative effort this time each year to help remind the public of burn injury prevention. 

Each year, over 486,000 individuals were seen in emergency departments, minor emergency clinics or physician’s offices for the treatment of a burn injury in the United States.  The majority of burn injuries that are treated in burn centers occur in the home followed by a much smaller percentage in the workplace.  Nine out of ten people treated for fire or burn injuries were treated and released.   In 2016 there were 3,390 civilian deaths from fires. The majority of these injuries were preventable. This is why the American Burn Association and its Burn Prevention Committee wants to bring awareness to the cause of such devastating and costly injuries and encourage the public to make simple environmental and behavioral changes that has proven to mitigate this problem.

Using the term “M. O. B.,” (Mechanisms of Burn) for the national campaign, the many ways in which a burn injury may occur is addressed. The campaign’s unique approach features a law and order motif. The many causes of burns (Flame, scald, electrical, etc.) are identified as “criminals” being sought after by “Police Commissioner Sean O’Safety.” Fire and Life Safety Educators, parents and others are given the opportunity to explore the various ways in which a “criminal” may cause a burn. Specific topics address the mechanism of injury for various age groups and persons with disabilities. For example, Larry “The Steamer” Liquids, may cause a burn in a different manner to a young child, then an older adult; or William “The Wire,” Electricity may cause in electrical injury in many forms. By arming themselves with the knowledge of the many different ways a burn injury could occur, individuals may take the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment for themselves and their loved ones.

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