We hope everyone enjoyed their summer but all good things must come to an end, and that goes for summer as well.

When cooler weather starts setting in that means that school will be starting soon. First and foremost, please have a watchful eye for children on their bikes and crosswalk activity. It only takes a split second for a child to dart out into traffic, so please be careful so we can all enjoy a beautiful fall.

Of course, when the temperatures start to dip and the leaves start to change color, a lot of us enjoy having backyard fires. We talk about this in the spring but during the fall many people have fires as well, so let’s review the fire pit safety rules.

  • Use an approved fire pit
  • Keep away from homes / garages 15 feet at a minimum
  • Do not burn grass clippings or leaves. Only meant for dry wood.
  • Be cognizant of your neighbor with smoke and wind direction.
  • One point we would like to stress, is never use gasoline to start a fire.

Please use an approved method for starting fires, such as newspaper, fire place starters (sold in many hardware stores), or if you choose to use a liquid use lighter fluid. Gasoline may be appealing because of its ability to light easily, but it also has an explosive effect. Gasoline is classified as a flammable liquid; all flammable liquids have vapors that start the fire and this reacts violently with a generated heat source. This is the “explosion effect” that is experience when gasoline vapors ignite. The other item to note is that gasoline vapors can be absorbed into your clothes. So when you go to light the fire, the vapors from your clothing can ignite as well causing severe burns or death.

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If you have never been burned, other than a blister; here is what a typical traumatic burn patient goes through. A burn injury is one of the worst injuries a person can endure. Not only is it life threatening, but the recovery is long and painful. All severe burn injuries are flown down to Hennepin County Burn Center, which is the nearest treatment center for burns.

After a person is burned (depending on the severity of the burn), doctors have to clean the area of skin that has been burned. This entails taking all the burnt material that has melted/fused into the skin off. Usually sedation is required because of the intense pain. After this, the injury will be washed in a saline solution and wrapped with a sterile gauze. When burned skin shrinks like plastic wrap; so as the area heals is also has to be stretched daily to maintain shape and flexibility, this too is very painful. If the burn is too deep to heal on its own, then a skin graft from another part of the body may be needed. A skin graft is a surgery in which healthy skin from a person is removed and transplanted to an area that is damaged.

Not all skin grafts are successful; this procedure may need to be endured multiple times before the graft takes and healing begins. A burn victim can face years of surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and depending on the extent of injury, severe burns can lead to infection, loss of blood, and shock. Some third degree burns may require lifelong care including aggressive treatments for pain.

Yes, this is meant to scare you and meant for you to think.

Think before you start a fire, and think how you can prevent from getting burned. Please be careful and have a fire safe September.