Burns are traumatic, life-changing injuries. While the safest advice is to avoid fire altogether, that isn't possible for most of us. If you're ever in a situation where fire is a danger, it's important to make sure you've taken as many safety precautions as possible to prevent greater injury. An easy way to do that is to make sure the clothing on your back won't fuel the flames and go up in a flash.
How to reduce the risk of clothing catching fire
The Flammable Fabrics Act of 1953 was intended to regulate the manufacture of highly flammable clothing, but there are still cases of dangerous clothing reaching stores. Even though they may end up getting recalled, it's important to know what to look out for in case they make their way to a shelf near you.
Buy clothing made of lower risk fabrics:
- Rayon, cotton, cotton/polyester blends, and acrylic are relatively flammable, and could pose a risk. Try to buy 100% polyester, nylon, wool, and silk as they are more difficult to ignite.
- Tight weaves or knits and fabrics are less likely to ignite and burn rapidly than open knits or weaves, fabrics with brushed or piled surfaces, and clothing with fuzzy or napped surfaces.
- Follow the manufacturer's care and cleaning instructions on products labelled 'flame resistant' to maintain their flame resistant properties.
If you're around sources of heat or flame, wear proper clothing:
- As cozy as your fuzzy sweater may be, don't bring it camping. It's better to keep the fire in the fire pit.
- While cooking, don't wear clothing with long, loose-fitting sleeves. They're more likely to catch fire from a flame on your stove, so roll them back or fasten them with pins or elastic bands while cooking.
What to do if your clothes catch fire
These may be the three steps our kindergarten teachers drilled into our heads, but the most important things to do when your clothing catches fire is to:
- Stop where you are - moving around can feed air to the flames, making them stronger.
- Drop to the floor - heat rises, and so do flames. Get on the ground and cover your face.
- Roll on the floor or ground - avoid flammable areas, but rolling should smother and put out the flames
If you end up getting burned, it's important to remember:
- For first or second degree burns, run cold water over the affected areas as soon as possible.
- Never peel melted burnt clothing off. Leave this to medical professionals to avoid further injury.
- Seek medical attention. If the burn is serious, it needs to be looked at by a medical professional.
If you or a loved one is caught in a fire, and their burns are exacerbated by clothing catching fire that ends up being recalled, we at Wyatt Law Firm are here to make sure your story gets heard and something is done about it. Contact us here, and we'll fight to make sure your rights are protected.