How to Avoid Home Fires | News | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Avoid home fires by changing your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks, advises Loyola burn surgeon

MAYWOOD, Ill. – On Sunday, November 1, daylight savings time ends and we all move the clocks backward. This is also a great prompt to check the smoke detectors in your home, says Art Sanford, MD, burn surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) and associate professor, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

In 2013, more than 369,500 fires, 2,755 deaths, 12,200 injuries, and $6.8 billion in damages were reported by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). “Half of all home fire deaths happen between 11 pm and 7 am when people are sleeping and most vulnerable,” says Dr. Sanford. “One-quarter of fires starts in the bedroom, another quarter in the family room and 16 percent in the kitchen. Those are the areas to prioritize when installing smoke detectors.”

Dr. Sanford and the medical staff at the LUMC burn unit treat hundreds of children and adults yearly due to burn injuries. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires and fire injuries. Smoking materials is the top cause of home fire deaths. Home heating devices are also a top cause of home fires, making fall and winter especially potentially dangerous.

"As you 'fall back,' checking your smoke detectors to make sure they are in working order is an easy step to take to safeguard your household," says Dr. Sanford. "Three out of five home fire deaths occur because no smoke detectors were present or the fire alarm did not operate. Tragically, older adults and the youngest children are more likely than any other age group to be killed in a home fire."

Loyola Medicine operates the largest burn center in Illinois and is a regional leader in burn care. Loyola delivers clinically integrated care for the most complex cases. Loyola’s outstanding success rates and multidisciplinary approach are recognized by the American College of Surgeons and American Burn Association

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.