A message from the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office
February 4-10, 2024, is National Burn Awareness Week. This year’s emphasis is on flammable liquid burns. Flammable liquids ignite easily and can burn with extreme rapidity. Technically a flammable liquid is determined by the flash point of the material. Flash point is defined as the temperature in which a particular organic compound gives off sufficient vapor to ignite in air. Gasoline, kerosene, and even cooking oil are good examples of a flammable liquid.
In a 2020 report from the Center for Disease Control, over 276,000 people received medical treatment for unintentional burn injuries, and 3,028 deaths were caused from burns and smoke inhalation. In 2022, Washington State experienced thirty-five fatalities from causes listed as unintentional.
During National Burn Awareness Week, practice these safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe:
- Only use gasoline outdoors and store in cool, well-ventilated areas.
- Start charcoal grills only with fluid labeled as “charcoal starter fluid.”
- Keep gasoline in a secure location, out of the reach of children.
- Use containers that have been listed, labeled, or approved for gasoline.
- Fill equipment with gas when engines are cool.
- If you spill a flammable liquid on your clothing, place the clothing outside to dry before laundering.
- Oily and solvent-wet rags can combust without a heat source. Store them in a tightly sealed metal container, or hang them outside to dry in a cool, shady location away from structures before discarding.
- Use gasoline only as a motor fuel, never as a substitute for charcoal lighter or a solvent/degreaser.
For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at 360-596-3929.