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The Grossman Burn Center at SJCH Proudly Supports National Fire Prevention Week

Burn Care

With a spotlight on National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 7-13, The Grossman Burn Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) encourages everyone to practice good fire safety.

In 2011 alone, there were 1,389,500 fires reported in the United States. Of these fires, 484,500 involved homes and other buildings, causing 2,604 civilian deaths, 15,635 civilian injuries, and $9.7 billion in property damage. According to this data, a structure fire was reported every 65 seconds. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) aims to educate families and individuals both on how to prevent fires and also how to safely escape fires.

This year, the NFPA stresses the importance of having a fire escape route in homes by planning and practicing for a safe exit. Their slogan this year is “Have 2 Ways Out,” in case the first escape is blocked by smoke or flames. The NFPA also encourages families and individuals to have a home escape plan and determine an outside meeting place in the event of a house fire.

Unfortunately, The Grossman Burn Center has many living examples for why everyone should pay close attention to the dangers and risks of fires. As the only full treatment burn center in Kern County, The Grossman Burn Center at SJCH has seen its share of fire accident-related injuries. Because of the never-ending possibilities of fire danger, SJCH’s Grossman Burn Unit works to educate the community to prevent fire mishaps – and act quickly if a burn does occur.

“Community education is invaluable and that’s why we partner with our firefighters to provide free fire and burn education locally,” said Karen Garner, director of the Grossman Burn Center at SJCH. “The first few hours are critical when it comes to burns. Often a burn will not appear serious initially. But, if untreated, the burn will become exponentially worse over the next 24 hours. That’s why it’s so important to act quickly.”

If your school or business is interested in having a burn center staff member speak, please contact Darci Combs at (661) 869-6138. For more fire prevention tips, please visit

In the home:

  • Keep fire exits and escape routes clutter-free.
  • Store flammable materials — such as paint thinner – in original, tightly sealed containers and away from ignition sources.
  • Keep matches and lighters in a secure place.
  • Ensure you have smoke detectors in every room in your home. Check the batteries each month and change them once a year.
  • Keep kids away from fireplaces.
  • Put pans on rear burners.
  • Keep hot dishes and drinks away from the edges of counter tops.
  • Keep appliance cords – like toasters – out of reach.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing while cooking.

If you’re burned:
  • Cool the burn with cool or room-temperature water for 15-20 minutes.
  • Don’t pop blisters.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Wash wound gently with mild soap and water, especially if blister bursts.
  • Do not put butter, toothpaste, ointments or anything similar on the burn.

Contact the Grossman Burn Center at SJCH:
  • If pain, swelling or redness increases.
  • If you get a fever.
  • If the burn is bigger than the palm of your hand
  • If the burn looks white or leathery.
  • For any chemical or electrical burn.
  • For any burn to the hands, feet, genitals or major body parts.