Burn Awareness & Prevention

Did you know that the most common cause of burn injuries to children is not fire, but rather scalds from liquids such as hot drinks and tap water? Most of these burn injuries are preventable.

Burn Awareness Week

Port Coquitlam Fire & Emergency Services and the British Columbia Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund are pleased to support Burn Awareness Week each year. Fire and burn injuries are the second leading cause of accidental death in children aged one to four years, and the third leading cause of injury and death for those aged one to 18.

Burn Awareness Week in 2023: February 5-11

The program targets children in the high risk group age group of six to 12. Resource packages complete with teaching tips, interactive quizzes, activity sheets and the burn awareness poster contest information can be easily downloaded at www.burnfund.org.

Every entrant wins a participation prize and 50 students can win money for their elementary school.

Burn Statistics

  • Each year an estimated 9,000 children in Canada visit hospital emergency room for burns, and almost half of these have suffered scalds from hot liquids.
  • Close to 1,000 Canadian children are hospitalized each year for severe scalds and burns. Approximately half of these children are hospitalized for scalds alone.
  • In British Columbia, more than 200 children are hospitalized each year for scald burns and thousands more are treated in emergency departments.

Burn Prevention

Scalds from hot tap water are often the most severe. Children’s skin is thinner and more sensitive, and burns four times more quickly and more deeply than an adult’s skin at the same temperature.

 Most home hot water heaters in Canada are set at 60° Celsius (140° Fahrenheit). At this temperature, a child’s skin can burn in just one second.

  • When using water taps, turn COLD water on first. Then add HOT water and adjust the temperature. Reverse the order when turning water off: HOT water first, then the COLD water.
  • Always test young children’s bath and sink water before using. When bathing children, never leave them unattended as they may turn on the hot water or slip in your absence.
  • Be very careful when drinking HOT liquids, especially around children. At 60°C (140°F) it takes less than five seconds to get a third degree (full thickness) burn. Children and older adults, by virtue of their thinner skin, sustain severe burns at lower temperatures and in less time than an adult.
  • If someone is burned, cool the burned area immediately with cool water for 10-15 minutes. Never put ice, very cold water, butter or lotions on a burn. If the burn blisters or chars, seek medical help immediately.

Did You Know?

  • The glass barrier on your gas fireplace can heat up to over 200°C (400°F) in about six minutes during use. It takes an average of 45 minutes for the fireplace to cool to a safe temperature after the fire is switched off.
  • Hot water burns like fire – hot liquids, not fire, are the most common causes of burns to young children,
  • 90% of hot water burns happen at home with 65% occurring in the bathroom,
  • Chances are, the hot water temperature in your home is set too high,
  • A child’s skin is thinner and burns quicker than an adult’s – a safe temperature for your hot water heater is 49 C or (120 F).

First Aid for Scald Burns Caused by Hot Liquids or Steam:

  • Immediately cool the scalded skin under running cool water, or soak in cool water
  • Remove any hot, wet clothing unless it is stuck to the skin
  • Continue cooling the scalded skin for 15 minutes
  • Never use cream, butter, greases, sauces, Band-Aids or ice on scald burns — use cool water only

Go to the Doctor or Hospital if the Scalded Burn:

  • Is on the face, hands, feet or groin area
  • Breaks or blisters the skin
  • Is more than half the size of the person’s hand.


Tel  604.927.5466
Fax  604.927.5406
Email  fire@portcoquitlam.ca

Location and Mailing Address

#1 Fire Hall, 1725 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam BC  V3C 2M9

Administration Offices Business Hours: 

8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays)