Burns at Home Prevention

Preventing Burns in the Kitchen

  • No children, no pets: Declare a kid-free zone 3 feet around your stove when you cook. Keep all pets away as well.
  • Reduce the risk of catching your clothes on fire by wearing clothes with tight fitting or short sleeves or roll up your sleeves when you cook.
  • Turn pot handles in so you can't bump them and children can't grab them.
  • Don't leave spoons or other utensils in pots while your food is cooking.
  • Keep oven mitts and pot holders handy near the stove. Caution: Using a wet mitt or pot holder can cause a severe steam burn.
  • Oil and water: Don't toss wet or frozen food into hot grease or oil. The violent reaction will spatter the hot oil.
  • Steam is hotter than boiling water, so take the lids off cooking liquids carefully to prevent steam burns.
  • Pan fires: Keep a lid for the pan you're using near your stove. If a pan of food catches fire, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flames, then turn off the burner. Leave the lid in place until the pan is completely cool. Don't peek; lifting the lid lets in oxygen and the fire could re-ignite.
    • Don't carry a blazing pan to the sink.
    • Don't pour water on a grease fire.
    • Don't spatter the burning food by using a portable fire extinguisher.

Hot Water

  • Adjust your water heater's thermostat to 120°F (49°C) or less. Outfit tubs and showers with anti-scald fixtures.
  • Turn on the cold water first then add hot water.

Child Safety

  • Supervise children when they're cooking or when they're near wood-stoves, fireplaces, barbecue grills and space heaters.
  • Unplug irons and move them out of reach after each use.
  • Install safety covers in unused electrical outlets and replace all damaged or brittle electrical cords.
  • Teach children that steam radiators, stove burners, toasters, irons and other familiar household objects can sometimes be hot.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of children's reach. Place the items up high in a locked cabinet and use child resistant lighters.

First Aid for Burns

  • Cool the burn. For first degree and second degree burns, cool the burned area with cool water for 10-15 minutes. This will lower the victim's skin temperature, stop the burning process, numb the pain and reduce swelling. Do not apply ice. Cool third degree burns only with wet sterile dressings until medical help arrives.
  • Remove burned clothing. Lay the victim flat on their back and remove burned clothing that isn't stuck to the victim's skin. Remove jewelry and tight clothing from around the burned area before swelling sets in. Elevate burned areas.
  • Cover the burn. After cooling a first degree or second degree burn, apply a clean, dry dressing to the burned area.
  • No grease. Never put butter or any other grease (including medicated ointment) on burned skin. Grease holds in heat, which can make the injury worse.
  • Don't break blisters. Germs can enter through the open wound.
  • Treat for shock. Keep the victim's body temperature normal to reduce the risk of shock. Cover unburned areas with a dry blanket.
  1. Mike Cardwell

    Fire Chief/Emergency Preparedness Director

  2. Fire Department

    Physical Address
    3927 121st Street
    Urbandale, IA 50323

    Fax: 515-278-3972

    Office Hours
    Monday through Friday
    8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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