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Be campfire safe this Easter break

Queenslanders are being urged to make campfire safety a priority this Easter break, with hundreds of holidays-goers expected to flock to campsites across the state.

Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital Director of Burns and Trauma, Professor Roy Kimble said while sitting around the campfire was a highlight of any camping trip, it was important to remember the safety risks associated with lighting and extinguishing the flames.

“In 2017, we treated 64 children for burns from outdoor fires, with 51 of those injuries caused by glowing coals or ashes rather than flames. Almost one quarter of these required surgery and more than 90 percent were under nine years of age,” said Professor Kimble.

“It’s a common misconception that campfires can be properly extinguished with sand or dirt.  While the flames may be out, fires extinguished with sand can retain heat up to 100 degrees Celsius for eight hours after the flames are no longer visible.

“It only takes one second of contact with a campfire to acquire very deep burns, but it can take months, if not years, of intensive therapy to reduce scarring and regain mobility in severely burnt limbs.

“We don’t want families to go without a campfire this Easter break, but we urge everyone to be vigilant about safety, especially while young children are around.”

Professor Kimble said the safest way to extinguish a campfire was to saturate it with at least 10 litres of water.

“This will cool a fire to a safe temperature in just 10 minutes,” he said.

“The most effective first aid treatment for a burn is to place the injured area under cool running water for 20 minutes and seek medical treatment immediately by phoning 000.

“While it’s ideal to apply first aid immediately, if running water is not available at the scene, it is still beneficial to apply cool running water up to three hours after the injury,” said Professor Kimble.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Superintendent James Haig encouraged Queenslanders to become familiar with campfire safety before heading out to parks and forests for the Easter break.

“There are many parks and forests throughout Queensland where you can camp and have a camp fire – but it’s always important to double check where and if they are permitted,” Mr Haig said.

“When setting up a campfire, campers should ensure it is positioned in a cleared area with no overhanging branches – at least three metres away from tents and other camping equipment.

“It’s also important to never leave the campfire unattended, and to always saturate the fire with water before going to bed or when you leave your campsite.”

ENDS

Media contact: 3708 5376

Last updated: 29 March 2018