Subscriber Only

Delaware Fire School stresses burn awareness


DOVER - National Burn Awareness Week starts next Monday, but following safety tips is a daily concern.

So says Delaware Fire School Senior Instructor of Public Education Michael Lowe, who is bent on spreading the word throughout the state.

A critical message that Mr. Lowe wants to share it that “We realize no one intends to have a fire.

“It’s just that split second, that minute of being inattentive or not paying attention to what you’re doing or being distracted.

“That’s when very, very bad things can happen.

“And we simply ask that you look around your home for hazards. Check your smoke alarms, make sure you have working smoke alarms.

“The chances of being killed in a fire for reduced by 91% by having a working smoke alarm and it residential sprinkler system.”

For the most severe cases, Mr. Lowe said, Delawareans are transported to the Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pa.

While there’s no specific events scheduled for National Burn Awareness Week, Mr. Lowe said talking points are part of Fire School instructors appearances throughout the year and around the First State. Fire companies, civic organizations, churches and schools are frequent presentation locations.

Those appearances involve overall fire prevention tips, with burn awareness discussion being part of the presentation.

Pre-COVID, the Fire School was making around 250 presentations to a wide array of organizations. That ground to a stop in March 2020, but Mr. Lowe said the appearances are becoming increasingly frequent.

According to the American Burn Association, more than 73% of burn injuries occur in the home.

The association offered tips on how to prevent scald burns including:

• Use the back burners of the stove and keep pot handles turned away from the edge to keep hot food and liquid out of reach of children.

• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

• Keep hot drinks off of low tables and away from the edges of countertops. Use a travel mug with a lid around children.

• Set hot water heater at 120 degrees or just below the medium setting. Always supervise children while they are bathing.

To prevent contact burns, the American Burn Association advises:

• Always have hot pads readily available when cooking. Assume all pots and pans are hot.

• After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off.

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

• Glass fireplace doors remain hot for one hour or more after use. Make sure fireplace on switches and remote controls are out of the reach of children.

To prevent flame fires, according to the association:

• Use gasoline outdoors only, and store in cool, well-ventilated areas out of reach of children.

• Keep lighters away from children. Child-resistant lighters are not child-proof.

• Install smoke alarms in every sleeping space and every level of the home.

• Keep space heaters away from anything that could burn by creating a 3-foot safety zone.

More information on burns is available online at

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.