Burns – Part 1 “Fire Safety”

Burns are injuries to the body’s tissues caused by either chemicals, electricity, heat or radiation. As burns can come from so many different sources we will break them down into sections to help you see the vastness of information, but also brings to light how “easy” burns are once you get the science of energy and how the damage to your body from Thermal Energy “Hot or Cold” is relatively similar in how we treat it. A little slogan to remember about Thermal Energy is “Hot is fast but Cold is Slow“, this little saying will help you see that if a burn from “heat” can happen fast, then we can treat it fast, but just like it takes a while for an ice cube to form “slow” that means that your body will likewise take damage from cold “Slowly“. “This does not include Dry Ice, Please refer to Chemical Burns” One more question we get during this portion is “What is the most common cause of death during a burn?” The answer is always “Infection“, we will bring more light on why in the next posts associated with Burns.
Common Causes of fire in the home:

  • Insecure combustible materials ie: gasoline, hair spray, oil

  • Unattended Cooking, or cooking oils secured inappropriately

  • Smoking in the home without securing “Butts” or Smoking in bed.

  • Faulty Heating Equipment or electrical devices

  • Fire Pits not secured or inspected properly

  • Furnace & Fire Place chimney’s or flue not cleaned properly


“Always follow safety guidelines, many Fire preventing methods have been put together by Occupational Health and Safety and your local Fire Departments for your own personal protection.”

  • Store Chemicals / fuels / oils and compressed cylinders appropriately as stated in the MSDS or manufacturers specs.

  • Never Keep cooking oils “Above” the stove, if there is a fire on the stove this may act as an accelerant”.

  • Have fire pits inspected and licensed by your local licensing inspector to ensure your homes safety.

  • Never keep your BBQ or other heat sources against a wall / siding or or other flammable materials.

  • Have a plan, know your exits and help your family understand the benefits of an “Emergency Response Plan” play / practice them with children to keep everyone safe.

  • Making sure you have working smoke detectors in the hallways near any sleeping areas, at the top of stairs, and in every bedroom. in some provinces and territories, legislation dictates where smoke detectors must be located.

  • Never leave a fire pit / place unattended “Embers can reignite”

  • Ensure that Fire extinguishers are kept up to date

Fire Safety Tip’s

Fires are caused by numerous things found commonly in the home: Heating equipment, appliances, electrical wiring and cooking. Having a Fire Safety Plan or even an ERP “Emergency Response Plan” is always a good idea for any family.
Plan & Practice a fire escape route with your family by:

  • Sketch a floor plan of your home that shows all the rooms, doors, windows, and hallways.

  • Draw arrows that show how to escape from each room. If possible, show two ways to get out of each room. Planning to escape sleeping areas is most important because most fires happen at night.

  • Plan where everyone will meet after leaving the building.

  • Assign someone to call the fire department after leaving the burning building.- When you travel, take a moment to find out the local emergency number and keep it on hand.

  • If you stay in a hotel, learn escape routes and emergency procedures in case of a fire.

How to Escape from a Fire:

  1. Check the area, if there is smoke, get low and crawl to get out of the building quickly, “Never return to a burning building” Make sure children are able to open windows, go down a ladder, or lower themselves to the ground. “Play / Practice with them**NOTE**– If you are unable to get out, “stay in the room“. Stuff towels, rags, or clothing around doors and vents. If you have access to water, wet the materials first.

  2. Call 911Even if rescuers are already outside, tell the 911 dispatcher exactly where you are”.

  3. Care for yourself and family by staying calm, get low “Avoid Smoke“, get out by crawling. Follow your emergency response plan as best as you are able. Protect yourself “Never return to a burning building as you may be overcome by smoke, heat, or explosion”. Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel.If you are on fire “STOP, DROP & ROLL

In any Emergency just Remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!!      Don’t Waste Time!!!
Swoop into First Aid and give a breath of Life, let first aid training in Edmonton be your Saving Grace.

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Wound Care – Part 12 “Penetrating or Blunt Chest Injuries”

Wound Care has many parts, lets now look at Penetrating Chest Injuries and the complications they can cause. As we have learned so far chest Injuries can cause breathing emergencies. If the lungs are punctured or damaged by a penetrating object and if the object goes through the rib cage it may let “Air” or “blood” into the chest through the wound. This may force the lungs to inflate inadequately and lead a potentially life threatening emergency such as a “Hemothorax” a “Pneumothorax” or a “Flail Chest

Common Causes:

  • Sudden Falls onto Objects blunt or sharp
  • Industrial incidents involving sharp, blunt or rotating machinery.
  • Any force strong enough to penetrate or create a wound great enough to damage the chests integrity.
  • Altercations involving weapons such as knives or guns.
  • Motor Vehicle accidents

Always follow safety guidelines, many injury preventing methods have been put together by Occupational Health and Safety for your personal protection.”
Chest injuries can often be prevented by good safety practices in all areas of life, this may include:

  • Driving Motor Vehicles – Working around the home
  • Participating in aggressive sports recreational activities
  • Performing occupational activities with heavy, rotating or industrial equipment.

What it Looks Like:

  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Bleeding from an open chest wound
  • Bubbling or a sucking sound coming from the wound in the chest
  • Severe pain on the injury site
  • Coughing up blood
  • Blood bubbling from the wound
  • Gasping with tightness or shortness of breath
  • Shock
  • Guarded Shallow breaths
  • Bruising on the chest or on the injury itself
  • Crunching or grinding sounds in the chest with deformity
  • Uneven rising of the chest during breathing “Flail Chest”

How to Help:

  1. Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / Circulation”    REMEMBER – Wear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids. **If the object is still in the wound “DO NOT REMOVE IT“, however if the object prevents the casualty from breathing “Remove it Immediately” the casualty must be able to breath**
  2. Call 911 if you suspect the injuries could be severe, if there are airway could be blocked or there is excessive bleeding. Always call 911 for a penetrating chest wound, there could be internal injuries that may lead to the situation becoming fatal. This may also include Spinal injuries due to the force impacted against the chest.
  3. Care for the Chest injury by:

***Only remove the object or the Victim from the object if their Airway could be compromised***

  1. Have the person rest in a comfortable position
  2. For a “Penetrating Chest Wound” cover the wound with a dressing that will stop air from getting into the chest. In many first aid kits this bandage is labeled “3 Sided Occlusive Bandage” this is specific bandage for “Penetrating Chest Wounds“. Simply tape the bandage in place with the opening in a position to allow the blood to drain away. Always consult your 911 Dispatcher for more information on current 2015 guidelines and what you may be able to do to help.
  3. Perform a Secondary Survey “Second Chance to find injuries” and treat any non life threatening conditions. With a “Flail Chest” often having the casualty hold something bulky against their chest “Such as a rolled up towel” may help hold the rib cage in place.

4) Continue to provide care until further help arrives “EMS Personnel

Pneumothorax & Hemothorax
A Pneumothorax is a condition where “Air” enters the chest cavity from the wound site but does not enter the lung. The air in the chest cavity presses against the lung, causing it to collapse or be restricted from expansion. A Hemothorax in like condition is where “Blood” accumulates in the chest cavity from the wound site but does not enter the lung. Because blood and air take up space in the chest cavity, the lungs are unable to expand effectively, thus leading to damage or limiting respiration’s and becoming potentially fatal injury.

Flail Chest
A Flail Chest is a condition where 3 or more ribs are fratured in two or more places releasing the rib fragments from the chest wall, resulting in a “Flail Chest” The segment will move opposite that of the normal chest movement with visible deformity. Breathing with a Flail Chest may be extremely Painful and difficult and often does not allow for adequate oxygenation of the body, The severity of the condition and may become fatal if there are underlying conditions or internal injuries associated with the Chest Injury.

In any emergency just remember to Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

Swoop into First Aid and give a breath of Life, let first aid training in Edmonton be your Saving Grace.