Someone reported a fire outdoors every 52 seconds in 2014, almost twice as often as a house fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In addition, approximately 486,000 people received medical treatment for burn injuries in the U.S. in 2011, according to 2015 statistics from the American Burn Association. The statistics do not lie – outdoor burn injuries are common.
What types of burn hazards are present outdoors?
There are numerous ways children and adults sustain burn injuries while outdoors. Cooking grills are a major source of outdoor burn injuries; according to the NFPA, in 2012, 16,900 emergency room visits were the result of a grill burn injury. Gas grill fires and explosions are often the result of blocked fuel lines, gas leaks, and overfilled propane tanks.
Below are just a few other examples of outdoor burn injury sources.
- Campfires, bonfires, and lanterns
- Brush fires used for clearing land
- Outdoor cooking-related burns
- Fireworks, sparklers, and resulting fires
- Burns from lawnmowers and other landscaping equipment
- Lightning strikes
- Contact with hot objects
- Boating fires and explosions
- Radiator fluid chemical and thermal burns
How do I handle a burn incident outdoors?
The first thing to do is to get the victim away from the source. If the person is on fire, cover him with a blanket to suffocate the flames or remove his clothing. If there is no blanket nearby, have the person “Stop, Drop, and Roll” until the victim has extinguished the flames. Quickly assess the damage and determine if you need to call 9-1-1. Acting quickly can help reduce the damage done to the skin and underlying tissue.
If the burns are extensive; caused by chemicals, electricity, or an explosion; or are on the face, hands, or genitals, call 9-1-1. If you are in the woods or far from the hospital, it may take time for help to arrive; try to keep the victim calm until the paramedics get there.
Do not apply ice, pressure, or creams to the burn, which could worsen the injury. “If a burn occurs – whether it’s chemical, electrical, liquid or flames – remove clothing if contaminated by chemicals, remove any jewelry if possible, flush burns with large amounts of water for 15 minutes and lightly cover the burn with a dry sterile dressing,” recommends Siloam Springs Regional Hospital.
Is there anything else I should know about outdoor burn accidents?
If you or your loved one sustained serious burns outdoors, look into your legal options. When another party, such a gas grill manufacturer, is to blame for the accident, they might be legally liable for your damages. And those damages can be significant in a lot of cases as medical bills pile up, you may struggle to go back to work, and you may experience psychological effects of the injuries.
If you were being careful, but still suffered injuries, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For help finding a lawyer, call our lawyer referral specialists at 844-549-8774.