LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In 2018, 70,000 people went to the ER to get treatment for contact burns. The Louisville Division of Fire and the Fire Prevention Bureau are spending this week teaching the public about how to keep more of those ER visits from happening.

The week of Feb. 2-8 is National Burn Awareness Week and one of the most common places where people get burned is in the kitchen. On Feb. 5, fire officials visited a culinary class at Iroquois High School to teach the students about the importance of fire safety in the kitchen.

“While we do fight fires, it’s also a critical part of our mission to educate people on ways to stay safe in the kitchen,” Louisville Fire Battalion Chief Bobby Cooper said.

A sergeant with Louisville Fire taught the class about the dangers of contact burns. Contact burns can be caused by touching something hot or by hot water or steam hitting your skin. According to the CDC, younger children are more likely to sustain injuries from scald burns, those caused from hot liquids and steam, and older children are more likely to get hurt from direct contact with fire.

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“We are all guilty of doing things that aren’t safe, but this class just shows you what the effects are of you doing those things you’re not thinking about,” said Zyrann Hibbitt, a sophomore at Iroquois. Burns aren't the only danger when it comes to the kitchen. According to Chief Cooper, the leading cause of structure fires is cooking.

The Fire Prevention Bureau leads these kinds of prevention workshops all year. According to Chief Cooper, these workshops aren’t just for kids.

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“The lessons that the students are learning are lessons that everybody can learn.”

The CDC lists the following safety tips for avoiding burns on its website:

-Be “alarmed”: Install and maintain smoke alarms in your home. Test your alarms once a month to make sure they’re working and use long-life batteries when possible.

-Have an escape plan: Create and practice a fire escape plan with your whole family. Involve your kids in the planning and make sure you have at least two ways out of every room.

-Cook with care: Never leave food unattended on the stove. Also, supervise or restrict children’s use of stoves, ovens, and microwaves.

-Check water heater temperature: Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Small children may not be able to get away from water that may be too hot and maintaining a constant setting can help control the temperature throughout your home. Test the water at the tap, if possible.

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