Winter is burn season in Delaware Valley

PHILADELPHIA, PA.; January 16, 2010

Experts say all too often burns happen from the devices people use in an effort to keep warm.

"People will sometimes just turn on their oven and open it up, which is a gas hazard, as well as a fire hazard," says Scott Cohen, of the Burn Foundation in Philadelphia.

Cohen says space heaters are a major danger, because they're often used too close to items that catch fire easily.

"People tend to use space heaters in areas that are very close to combustible objects. They'll put them under desks, near trash cans. You want to kind of draw an imaginary line of 3 feet around any space heater, or any kind of really hot object," he told Action News. "And you want to keep combustible items out of that zone.

Cohen says some heaters have a safety feature.

"This particular space heater is designed so that when it tips over, it causes an alarm," and as he tilts the heater, it lets out a sharp buzz.

Heating pads can ease winter's aches and pains, but if you fall asleep with one on, you can get a second or third degree burn.

Candles are another prime source of burns, and they cause hundreds of fires in our area every year.

Instead of wax candles, he suggests the flameless ones. If you do use wax candles, be sure they don't have ribbons or other decorations which could catch fire./

The Burn Foundation says to be sure EVERY appliance used in the home carries the UL-approved label, showing it has been approved by Underwriters Laboratories.

In recent weeks, several people have been burned in house fires, trying to fight to put out the flames themselves.

Cohen says if fire breaks out in your home, get out, and stay out.

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