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Wentzville Fire Protection District firefighter and fire truck at a fire training exercise

Wentzville FPD News & Fire Safety Tips

Go on a National Burn Awareness Week Scavenger Hunt at Home to Check for Flammable Liquids

Updated: May 23


The American Burn Association sponsors the National Burn Awareness Week campaign every year. This campaign always features a theme that aids in public education about burn prevention; this year, the week-long campaign hopes to increase awareness about flammable liquid burn injuries.


While many of our residents know that common fuels like butane and gasoline are highly flammable, many chemicals and items in the home also quickly ignite. To support the ABA’s campaign, the Wentzville Fire Protection District encourages residents to participate in a flammable liquid scavenger hunt to find these fire hazards in their homes and ensure they are properly stored.


What to Know About Flammable Liquids

A flammable liquid is not a fire or burn hazard unless stored near a heat source or an open flame. The term “flammable liquid” is also a bit misleading as the liquid itself isn’t flammable; the vapor from the liquid ignites and leads to fire and burn hazards.


Flammable liquid storage places are likely all around the home. If an individual doesn’t understand the volatile nature of the chemical or liquid, they could unknowingly store the product in a dangerous space. A flammable liquid scavenger hunt helps residents uncover every flammable product in their homes and decrease their risk of a fire or injury.


The goal of this scavenger hunt is two-fold: find flammable liquids and determine if their storage space exposes them to a heat source. Print out our chart of flammable liquids commonly found in the home, and check each one off as you find them. We have included location prompts to help you find them; however, every home is organized differently.

Product 

Possible Flammable Liquid Storage Location 

Rubbing alcohol

Bathroom (likely in your medicine cabinet)

Nail polish remover

Bathroom 

Cooking oil

Kitchen pantry

Cooking spray (products like Pam)

Kitchen pantry or cabinets

Lighter fluid

Varies

Hairspray

Bathroom

Paint thinner

Basement or garage

Turpentine

Basement or garage

Hand sanitizer

Everywhere!

Flour

Kitchen

Creams with paraffin

Bathroom

Laundry detergent

Laundry room

Various car products

Garage

When you find each item, pay attention to any heat sources nearby. For example, most people don’t realize that flour is flammable. While it’s not a liquid, we’ve included it because this baking essential is often kept on counters near the stove.


Any product with alcohol will ignite. Even if we missed the product on our list, store any products containing alcohol away from an open flame or heat source. While many carry hand sanitizer in a handbag or car, this product is highly flammable. Keep sanitizer in the middle console or tucked away in the glove compartment.


Be aware that highly flammable liquids should never be stored in direct sunlight. Remember that the sun is a natural heat source, and it will ignite flammable liquids.


How to Safely Store Flammable Liquids at Home

Every flammable liquid discovered in the home should be stored away from a heat source (including direct sunlight). Fuels like butane should be kept in a garage or storage shed; never store fuel in the home (even in the basement).

 

Products like nail polish remover can be safely stored in a medicine cabinet or a linen closet. 


Find a cool location and, again, store them away from any heat source. When flammable liquid storage is done thoughtfully, the risk of in-home burns can be decreased.


Types of Burns

While burns caused by flammable liquids are the focus of this year’s Burn Awareness Week campaign, these injuries are caused by various sources. An individual can sustain a burn injury from:


  • Fire/flames

  • Chemicals

  • Electrical sources

  • Scalding liquid


Burn injuries also range in severity. A first-degree burn is very minor; these burns can be caused by the sun. Typically, the skin appears pink or red. Second-degree burns are a bit more serious; these burns cause blistering on the skin or a shiny appearance. Sunburns can lead to second-degree burns, and touching a hot surface also can cause these burns. 


Third-degree and fourth-degree burns are the most serious burns. Third-degree burns damage layers of skin tissue and can destroy nerves. Fourth-degree burns are life-threatening injuries.


How to Treat a Burn

Even with extreme care and caution, burn injuries still occur. What should you do if you get burned? Most minor burns require very little treatment. Serious burns like third-degree burns require immediate medical attention. 


How to Treat a Minor Burn

Cooking sometimes leads to getting burned. If a hot pan causes a minor burn, use tepid (lukewarm) water to soothe it. Aloe also helps relieve the pain and helps healing. A simple and minor burn should heal quickly.


Talk to Kids About the Dangers of Matches and Lighters

Scald burns are the most common type for young children, but older children might be more susceptible to burns sustained from playing with sources of fire like a lighter, matches, or fireworks.


Fire is not a toy. Matches and lighters are tools, and teens and tweens should not play with these items. Talk to kids at a young age about the dangers of playing with fire; help them understand that other heat sources (like the stove) should never be touched. 


Not only can a fire source lead to severe burn injuries, but it also can destroy lives and property. 


Flicking a lighter might ignite a nearby fuel source and cause an explosion. A teen also could accidentally catch their clothes on fire while playing with matches or lighting fireworks.


More Ways to Prevent Burns Around the Home

While an explosive liquid scavenger hunt helps residents track down all the products that could present a fire or burn risk, several other burn risks are hiding in the home. Keep these five safety tips in mind and avoid feeling a burn:


  1. Keep pot and pan handles facing inward on the stove. This ensures they aren’t easy for kids to grab.

  2. Check the thermostat temperature on the water heater. Temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to scalding.

  3. Be cautious about dishes placed in microwaves. Any pottery with tiny cracks traps water, which heats up excessively in the microwave. The dish will be much hotter than individuals realize, leading to a burn.

  4. Always use oven mitts or pot holders when handling hot dishes and food. 

  5. Keep pets and children away from portable heaters; the heating elements can lead to burns.

Learn and Don’t Get a Burn!

Wentzville Fire Protection District believes community education leads to empowerment. Use our information to learn how to identify the flammable liquids in your home. Then use your knowledge to increase your capabilities for safe flammable liquid storage throughout your home. Talk to children and teens about fire dangers and burn risks. Don’t become a burn statistic; take action and safely store flammable liquids. 


About the Author


Wentzville Fire District is one of the largest fire districts in St. Charles County, covering 88 square miles. The fire district is committed to serving and protecting our community through the highest quality of fire protection, prevention, education, and community outreach.


1 Comment


Very good article. I even have a fear of flammable liquids on a subconscious level. I recommend adding video content to your post. This will greatly improve your serve. You can decorate it beautifully in online video editor. It is completely free, simple and multifunctional.

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