TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Shriners, members of the fraternal organization that operates 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children throughout North America, are urging people to take necessary precautions against flammable liquid and gasoline-related burns during Burn Awareness Week 2004, February 1-7. "The greatest tragedy is that most burn injuries are preventable," said M. Burton Oien, President and CEO of the Shriners of North America. "Every year Shriners get involved in Burn Awareness Week to help people prevent dangerous burns. This year, we hope to decrease the number of flammable liquid and gasoline-related burns." Dan Caro, 22, knows firsthand how dangerous gasoline burns can be. At two years old, Dan was severely burned when the pilot light of a hot water heater ignited gasoline fumes in his New Orleans, La., garage. He was transported to the Boston Shriners Hospital and treated for burns covering 70 percent of his body. Dan lost his right hand and part of his left hand in the fire, and spent most of his life going through treatments and reconstructive surgeries. A special surgery gave Dan the use of a moveable thumb, and therefore allowed him to start playing the drums, helping to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing music. "I wanted to prove to myself that I could conquer something extreme," said Dan. Today, Dan plays in a popular New Orleans jazz band, and his talent has been called nothing short of amazing. Shriners Hospitals offers the following tips to keep children safe from gasoline-related burns: -- Keep flammable products locked up and out of the reach of children. -- Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of the reach of children. -- Teach children about the dangers of flammable products and vapors. -- Store and use flammable liquids only in approved containers and in well ventilated areas, away from all sources of ignition, including: hot engines, cigarette lighters or matches, pilot lights on gas appliances, electrical heaters, electrical switches and static electricity. -- Gasoline has only one purpose -- to fuel an engine. For other purposes, the safest product available should be used for the job. -- Supervise older children/teenagers when filling engines such as lawnmowers with gasoline. Allow an engine to cool before adding more gasoline. -- Always fuel power mowers and other equipment outside where there is adequate ventilation to disperse the vapors. Use a funnel. -- In case of accidental spills, wash yourself and remove clothing immediately. -- Fuel engines only when they are cool. Engine heat can ignite gasoline vapors. -- Do not store gasoline in your basement or other areas within the living space of the home. -- Store only a minimal amount or none at all when gasoline is not needed for several weeks. -- Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions to elevate the water heater at least 18 inches above the floor level. Known as the experts in pediatric burn care, Shriners Hospitals operate four burn hospitals in Galveston, Cincinnati, Boston and Sacramento. Through intensive research and state-of-the-art clinical care, a burned child's chance of survival has more than doubled since the Shriners first opened the burn hospitals in the mid-1960s. Much of today's research now focuses on improving the quality of life for burn survivors. The 22 Shriners Hospitals provide care totally without charge to children up to their 18th birthday. The Shriners of North America, an international fraternity with more than 450,000 members in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama, founded the hospital system. If you know a child Shriners Hospitals might be able to help, call 1-800-237-5055 in the U.S.; 1-800-361-7256 in Canada; or visit www.shrinershq.org.
SOURCE Shriners Hospitals for Children