Every year, thousands of children and adults suffer accidental injuries due to heating system contact burns and hot water scalds. The 11th October is National Burn Awareness Day, an annual event aimed at reducing the number of burns and scalds occurring in the UK every single day.
A burn or scald injury is for life. The scars are physical as well as psychological, and can present life-long challenges for the individual and their families. The young and elderly are especially vulnerable as their skin is thinner and may have slower reaction times or lack of communication to let others know they are experiencing pain. Most injuries occur as a result of an accident in the home, with many cases avoidable.
Prevention is key to reducing the number of burns and scalds each year. And so, the CIPHE has the following advice:
- When filling up the bath, always run the cold water tap before you turn on the hot tap. It only takes one second to get a deep burn in hot water when the water temperature is at 70°C.
- If your home does not have them already, installing Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) will greatly reduce the risk of scalds, as the devices mix water to a safe controlled temperature at the outlet.
- Radiators can reach temperatures high enough to cause a burn if touched. Install a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) to control the temperature of a room by changing the flow of hot water to the radiator.
- Remember to have your TMVs, TRVs (and your plumbing and heating systems) regularly serviced.
- Upgrade your shower to a model that includes a built-in TMV.
- Consider installing low surface temperature radiators or radiator covers if you have particularly vulnerable people within your home.
- Ensure exposed heating system pipes or elements are covered or out of reach of vulnerable householders.
- If you are concerned about any exposed elements of your heating system, or the temperature of the water from your taps, call in a professional plumbing and heating engineer for guidance on ways to improve the safety in your home. To find a vetted professional in your area visit www.ciphe.org.uk, call 01708 472791 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are on social media, you can get involved in this year's event too. Simply use the hashtags #BeBurnsAwareand #CoolCallCover in your posts to help spread the word.
Find out more on Burn Injury Awareness Day via the Children’s Burn Trust website.
You can find out more on scalding, Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMVs) and general water safety on the CIPHE website.