The following is one of a series of articles on Community Risk Reduction presented by the Muscatine Fire Department.
MUSCATINE, Iowa – National Burn Awareness Week is an essential time to raise awareness about burn prevention, safety, and treatment. For 2024, the theme is flammable liquid safety.
Kathe M. Conlon, BSN, RN, CEM, MSHS, and Director of Burn Community Programs at The Burn Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, provides the following information about flammable liquids.
Flammable liquids are any liquid that can easily ignite at room temperature. Examples include gasoline, beauty products, household cleaner, sanitizers, and paint solvents.
Flammable liquids pose two primary hazards including explosion and fire. However, it is not the liquid that ignites, but the vapors created by the liquid. When stored or handled incorrectly, flammable liquids can release harmful vapors into the air and cause explosions, potentially causing serious burn injuries. According to the ABA, gasoline fumes can ignite up to 12 feet away from the liquid source, highlighting the severity of flammable liquid hazards.
To reduce the risk of injury:
- Use products in well-ventilated areas;
- Never mix products; and,
- Always store and discard combustibles according to manufacturer’s instructions.
If a spill does occur:
- Use appropriate absorbent materials for cleanup;
- If liquids come in contact with skin, or splashes into the eye, immediately flush the area with water for several minutes; and,
- Seek medical attention for additional care.