5 Safety Tips for National Burn Awareness Week 2021
In the age of technology, electricity is often taken for granted. As such, it follows that the danger and severity of electrical burns are often glossed over in our minds, which can easily lead us to disregard the risks of certain actions — like using our smartphones while soaking in the bath or using a fork to retrieve our morning toast out of the toaster — against our better judgment. For this reason, the American Burn Association (ABA) has sponsored National Burn Awareness Week 2021, taking place February 7th to 13th, with this year’s theme being “Electrical Safety from Amps to Zap (A to Z).”
The injurious result of a person coming into contact with an electrical current, electrical burns pose a unique danger to us. Often, the burn does not affect the outer layer of skin (or epidermis); instead, it will damage internal tissues, muscles, and organs as it runs through the body. It is, therefore, very important to immediately seek professional medical attention for an electrical burn.
To prevent being injured at all, Cullan & Cullan’s doctor-lawyers have outlined 5 safety tips to protect yourself and your family from electrical burns:
- Do NOT approach downed power lines.
Given the amount of electricity running through them, active power lines are extremely dangerous. Even if you know that a power line is currently inactive, it could become active at any moment. Thus, it is advisable to regard fallen power lines as active and energized. Do not touch or approach them; the recommended minimum safe distance from them is 35 feet, as you could be electrocuted by the power lines themselves or by a person or object in contact with them. Electricity can easily travel via the ground, trees, tree limbs, fences, etc.
- Do NOT rely on rubber-soled shoes to keep you safe.
You may have heard the popular advice that if you wear shoes with rubber soles then you will be safe from experiencing electric shock. While this may be true in some cases, it is simply not worth the risk. If you encounter any electrical work that should be done by an electrician, it would be much wiser to hire an electrician than attempt to undertake the work on your own. It is always better to err on the side of caution, especially when your health and life are at stake.
- Replace old, brittle or frayed wires/cords.
Due to the number of electronic devices and electrical appliances that we rely on and use on a daily basis, it is quite common for people to use a charging cord or other wiring long after it starts to fray. While it may seem unlikely, it is very possible to sustain an electrical burn from this practice. It certainly pays off to replace any frayed cords immediately.
- Do NOT stick metal forks, knives, or other utensils into a toaster oven.
Amid the morning rush, it may seem easy and quite harmless to take your toast out of the toaster with the help of the same knife you will use to butter it. However, this can result in a serious electrical burn, as any metal utensil can act as a conductor for electricity, therefore allowing the electrical current from the toaster’s coils to pass through the utensil and into your body.
- Unplug electrical appliances (and cover electrical outlets) when not in use.
Electrical appliances will continue to use energy, and thus conduct electricity, as long as they remain plugged in — even if they are turned off. This means that if you leave your appliances plugged in, you are at a higher risk of having something go wrong and starting an electrical fire. Along the same vein, it is recommended that all unused power outlets be covered with safety covers to prevent pets and/or children from playing with them and suffering electric shock.
Electrical burns can result from many different types of scenarios that are no fault of the injured person, from hazardous workplaces to defective products. At Cullan & Cullan, our Kansas City, Missouri burn injury attorneys have represented a multitude of burn survivors who have been harmed by another person, company, or corporation. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the carelessness of another, contact our doctor-lawyers online or at (816) 253-8606 today.