MAYWOOD, Ill. - The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. More than 6,000 Americans every year go to the emergency room for burn injuries caused by room heaters.
Winter is not over and many more cold days are expected. The Burn Center at Loyola University Medical Center is warning the public about the dangers of space heaters used by so many to keep warm.
"Every year we receive patients who are victims of house fires caused by space heaters," said Dr. Richard Gamelli, director of the Burn and Shock Trauma Institute at Loyola University Medical Center. The Loyola Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, treating nearly 700 patients annually in the hospital, and another 3,500 patients each year in its clinic.
"So many of these injuries are preventable if simple precautions are taken," said Gamelli, who is senior vice president and provost of the Health Sciences Division of Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. About 40 percent of Loyola’s burn cases are children, mostly age 2 and younger.
Some key tips from Loyola and the Department of Energy for space heater safety include:
General Portable Heater Safety Tips
Electric Space Heaters
Combustion Space Heaters
The Loyola Burn Center staff comprises more than 70 specially trained medical professionals and provides comprehensive care for adults and children with thermal injuries, electrical burns, chemical injuries, frostbite, toxic epidermal necrolysis, inhalation injuries and complex soft-tissue infections. A multidisciplinary team with vast experience in resuscitation, pulmonary support, wound management, nutritional support and rehabilitation provide care in the Burn Center. The Loyola Burn Center was awarded verification by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Burn Association (ABA). This recognition is only granted to those programs that have met and exceeded the ACS and ABA standards and review.