mulch-fire-injuryIt’s springtime! We made it through another cold winter. Now, the days are growing longer, daffodils are in bloom and many people are gearing up for weekends in the yard. Gardening and landscaping can be rewarding ways to spend some time outdoors this time of year. One of the things I often notice in the spring but rarely spend much time thinking about is mulch. To the very limited extent I consider mulch, I register how it smells when first put down. I think it looks nice spread over garden beds. I appreciate its weed-blocking capabilities. But I have to admit, when I looked at piles of mulch in the past, I never thought DANGER! Maybe I should have.

Continue Reading Mulch Fires: What You Should Know Before Starting Your Spring Gardening

backyard fire pit ideasMany people have fire pits at their homes and use them while entertaining. Gathering around an open fire to talk or roast S’mores can be a lot of fun, but it is important that you know the rules and risks associated with backyard fire pits.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, at least 5,300 injuries related to fire pits and outdoor heaters were treated in emergency rooms in the United States in 2017. That figure is nearly triple the number of fire pit related injuries treated in 2008. Alcohol and drug use is a major contributing factor in open fire burns of adults, accounting for nearly 61% of adult burns.

Tragically, children suffer a high number of these injuries, with 25% of the victims under the age of five. Frequently, burn injuries occur the day after a backyard fire, when the fire is out, but the remaining coals are still hot.

Continue Reading Backyard Fire Pits: Burn Risks & Prevention Tips

Flame jetting is a phenomenon that occurs when flammable liquids, like gasoline or rubbing alcohol, are poured from a container and ignite causing a jet of flame, something like a flame thrower. Flames from flame jetting gas cans can spew to distances of 15 feet. The injuries caused by flame jetting can be catastrophic. Every year more than 4,000 people are badly burned and 450 are killed by flame jetting. Tragically, instances of flame jetting can occur in your own back yard with the gas can you use to fill your lawnmower.

In 2011, a Baltimore County teenager was severely burned by a flame jet. She was standing ten feet away from a backyard fire pit when another teen standing directly across from her poured gasoline from a gas can onto the fire. The resulting flame jet shot across the fire pit engulfing the young woman in flames and leaving her scarred for life.

Continue Reading Congress to Consider Bill to Prevent Flame Jetting Injuries

Picture yourself sitting down for a meal at your favorite restaurant. You order a drink and begin looking over the menu. A glass is placed in front of you on the table, and you take a drink. In an instant you feel your mouth, tongue, gums, and throat burning. Moments later you are vomiting. You are rushed to a hospital where you remain for days. You learn that your esophagus and stomach have been torn and perforated by a chemical mixed into the drink you were served.

Sounds like a nightmare, right? Unfortunately, this scene plays out more than you know. Every year in the United States an estimated 5,000 to 15,000 people are injured by ingesting caustic chemicals.

This week an Atlantic County jury awarded $750,000 to Richard Washart who suffered severe chemical burns to his esophagus and stomach when he was served a draft beer tainted with a caustic chemical agent used to clean the draft beer lines at the McCormick & Schmick’s restaurant at Harrah’s casino.

Continue Reading Chemical Burns & Caustic Cleaning Agents: Beware What You Are Served in Restaurants

Two years ago, a friend told me a story no parent wants to tell. A pot of water was put on the stove to boil. His daughter was able to reach the pot handle. In an instant, she grabbed the handle and hot water poured down and scalded her.

Since then, my wife and I had our first child. He is now two years old and is fascinated by the stove in our kitchen. He is constantly trying to climb the stove by pulling on the oven door and standing on the handle of the pot drawer at the bottom of the stove. It is a never-ending battle to keep him from trying to climb the stove and to keep his hands away from the stovetop and the hot pots and pans he finds so irresistible.

Children’s fascination with stoves and the tools we use to cook on them is not a new phenomenon, but it is an incredibly dangerous and costly one.

A five-year-old Missouri boy was awarded $35 million in lifetime benefits when a pot of boiling water slid off a stove that tipped when he stood on its open door trying to reach a pot. The stove was not equipped with an anti-tip bracket. When the stove tipped, the boy suffered severe scald burns to his groin and thighs. It was an easily preventable tragedy.

Continue Reading The Kitchen Stove: A Major Cause of Burn and Scald Injuries

For children who have survived burns, there may be no better opportunity for healing, growth, and camaraderie than attending a burn camp. This summer, I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer as a camp counselor at the Camp Susquehanna burn camp in Denver, Pennsylvania.

Camp Susquehanna is dedicated to providing children with burns the opportunities to face social and physical challenges, develop self-esteem, and promote a positive attitude while encouraging healthy independence. Camp Susquehanna is a safe place for healing, a place for children to share feelings about difficult experiences, perhaps for the first time. Life skills workshops combined with many fun activities ensure that the child with burn injuries enjoys special experiences. Camp Susquehanna strives to have every child meet the goals of building self-esteem, learning responsibility, and developing coping strategies to use outside the camp arena. One way this is accomplished is by providing challenge activities that give children the sense of “conquering” and accomplishment.

Continue Reading 2017 Camp Susquehanna Burn Camp

Imagine driving home from work and seeing smoke rising from beneath your car’s hood. You pull off the road and into a nearby parking lot. You call your spouse to say there is a problem with the car and within seconds, the car erupts in flames. Luckily, you exited the vehicle safely before the fire began. Luckily, no one else was in the car.

photo of vehicle fire
It is easy to see how dangerous and destructive vehicle fires can be.

This scenario was described to me recently by my brother. His wife’s car burst into flames as she was driving home from work a few months ago. An electrical failure caused a fire in the engine compartment. The vehicle was completely destroyed, but thankfully, she recognized the danger signs before it was too late and exited the car unharmed. Vehicle fires like this one happen more than one might expect and can have catastrophic consequences in terms of lives lost, severe injuries and property, damage.

Continue Reading The Car’s on Fire: Tips for Reacting and Responding to a Vehicle Fire

What do you think of when you hear the words “summer camp?” Fun, adventure, new friends? Summer camp invokes memories of all of these things. But for children with burn injuries, summer camp can feel like it is off the agenda—at least until they are fully healed. Luckily this is no longer true—there are a growing number of options in the form of specialized burn camps that cater to the needs of pediatric burn victims.

Children with burn injuries sometimes have difficulty performing common tasks due to physical damage. Some have problems with social interaction due to pain, isolation, or scars. Others may require continuous treatment—sometimes daily; sometimes weekly or monthly. Summer camps are seldom set up to meet the needs of these specialized functional and medical requirements. This is where the burn camp comes in.

Camp Susquehanna is one of these specialized summer burn camps.
Continue Reading Summer Camps for Burn Victims—Register Now for 2017

While the physical injuries caused by burns often receive the greatest attention from medical staff, the psychological and psychiatric injuries caused by burns cannot be overstated. As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, more than 90% of burn victims experience some symptoms of stress within the first week of the injury and more than 45% develop chronic signs of stress that can be categorized as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after one year. Approximately one third of survivors of major burn injuries suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being discharged from the burn center.

Continue Reading Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Burn Survivors

Recently, Samsung voluntarily recalled millions of its Galaxy Note 7 phones because the batteries were catching fire and causing injuries. This decision was made at a crucial time—right before the launch of competitor Apple’s new iPhone. Why did they do it? Because within two weeks of its release there were 35 cases of the phone exploding or catching fire. Although that does not seem like a large number of incidents from millions of units, Samsung made the conservative call in light of growing reports of injuries from lithium battery malfunctions in other electronic devices.

Continue Reading Exploding Batteries in Galaxy Note 7 Force Recall