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what should you do if someone is on fire?
You don’t need to be involved in a large-scale fire to find that your clothes have caught fire.
This could happen in a kitchen accident or in any situation where you are wearing flammable clothing and you come into contact with a spark or any kind of igniter fluid.
Campfire accidents, firework accidents, cigarette accidents and many more circumstances can easily cause you to catch fire.
The faster you are able to react, the better the outcome will be. If you can put out the fire quickly then you can mitigate the injuries.
Stop, Drop And Roll
The quickest way to extinguish a fire that is on a person, usually when their clothes have caught fire, is to use the ‘stop, drop and roll’ method.
This is a simple thing to remember that could save your life, or the life of someone else.
First, you need to make sure that the person on fire, whether it is you or someone else, stops moving.
Running around in blind panic will fan the flames and can accelerate the fire. If you see someone on fire, try and get their attention and get them to stop moving.
Next, they need to drop to the floor and lie in a prone position. It is a good idea to use your hands to cover your face at this point to protect it from the flames.
Try to communicate this to the person on fire, or demonstrate it with your hands.
The final step is to roll over until the flames are completely extinguished. Make sure that the person rolls onto the back and their front to get all of the flames, and that this is repeated for as long as is necessary.
If they stop rolling before all of the flames are gone, then the fire can spread quickly over their clothes again.
Once the fire is out, you can assess the burn injuries. It is likely that they will need medical attention, so you should call an ambulance.
Burn injuries can be very serious and in some cases they can be life threatening even if the victim has not lost consciousness immediately.
It is also possible that the person on fire could have inhaled smoke, which is dangerous and should be checked over by a medical professional.
There are some scenarios where the ‘stop, drop and roll’ method is not suitable. You might not be able to explain the method if the person on fire is panicking. It is also possible that the person on fire could be unconscious.
In these scenarios, it is best to find a large piece of heavy material like a thick blanket or a coat. If you can, soak it in water.
Throw it over the person on fire. It will remove the oxygen from the fire, and if the material is wet it will also remove some of the heat.
Remember that water conducts electricity, so if the fire was electrical then ensure that you are not near the source of the fire or any open electric sparks.
what should you do if someone is on fire wet blanket?
If your clothes or someone else’s clothes catch on fire, DO NOT run; stop, drop, and roll until the fire goes out and then call 911. Never remove any clothing stuck to a person’s body. Cover them with a wet blanket until the burning stops, then cover them with a dry blanket.
If a Fire Starts:
Can a Fire Extinguisher Be Used On a Person?
Most of the time, a fire extinguisher is simply not the best solution to putting out a fire on another person.
Why not? Well, because a fire extinguisher was really built with the idea that a user would stand at a safe distance from the fire and then gradually aim at the base and move the spray around to smother the fire.
This creates a blanket over the fire which removes the oxygen and extinguishes the flame.
The problem with this is that it takes time. That’s time that the person who is on fire doesn’t really have. For every extra second they’re on fire could feel like an eternity, particularly if the burning is consuming skin tissue.
This means that you almost always want to use stop, drop and roll because it’s quicker and easier and if you can combine it with a blanket or coat – then it’s even faster. The objective ought to be speed and convenience and that’s not normally a fire extinguisher.
So, can a fire extinguisher be used on a person who is on fire?
Well, yes it can. In fact, as a last resort, a fire extinguisher will be reasonably safe to use on another person, even if it won’t necessarily be as fast as other solutions.
There is an order of preference when it comes to using an extinguisher on someone and that is:
- Water. Water is the safest and easiest extinguisher to use on a person. As long as the fire is not caused by electricity and/or the electricity supply has been fully disconnected from the person. Water is, of course, completely non-toxic and most materials that people wear will not react with water even if they are on fire. This makes it the best choice. Something like this.
- Dry powder. Dry powder is chemically inert, but you shouldn’t spray it in someone’s face. You will need to try and spray it evenly over the burning clothing to try and extinguish the fire. This is one that is very common.
- CO2. A lot of people seem to assume that carbon dioxide will dangerously harm the person you use it on. This is not true. You know that carbon dioxide is not particularly dangerous because you’re breathing it out as you read this. However, it can get bitterly cold – so keep the spraying to a minimum and don’t spray it in someone’s face. And it can displace oxygen so there isn’t enough to breathe. Here is an example of a CO2 extinguisher.
- Foam. This is a messier and less safe solution, but you can still use a foam fire extinguisher and again the most important thing is to keep the spray out of the person’s face.
what should you do if someone is on fire fist aid?
The first thing one needs to do is remove the source of heat, look for associated trauma and keep clothing from coming in touch with the skin. However, it is important to not try and remove clothing which has got stuck to the skin. If a person’s clothes have caught fire, one needs to put out the flames first. Do not allow the flames to spread. Lay the person down on the ground and wrap them tightly with a thick piece of cloth and smother the flame by gently rolling the victim or by patting over the covering.
Try and cool down the burn with cold, clean water as soon as possible. Cold water eases the pain, removes the heat and lowers the temperature in the injured tissue. This prevents further injury to the skin. Cooling can be effective for about 30 minutes to an hour after the injury. In case of an extensive burn, cool for no longer than five minutes, especially in babies and children. Wrap the wound in a clean towel and take the patient to medical care facility for treatment.
The initial management of a burn patient involves resuscitation of the patient for shock, taking care of the fluid balance and preventing infection. The long term management involves preventing the formation of contractures as any other subsequent deformity.
In case of a chemical burn, wash the affected part with cold running water for 10-15 minutes to remove all traces of the chemical. At the same time remove any contaminated clothing. Make sure the patient is transported to the nearest hospital without any delay.
Another way to treat a burn injury is through the process of skin grafting, which is popular across the United States of America, Europe and is also done at a few centres in India. The advantages of this technique include:
It reduces the chances of getting an infection. Our skin is our greatest defence against infection as it prevents the infecting organism from entering our body. When barrier is lost due to a burn, the patient becomes susceptible to infection. Earlier the skin is restored (by grafting), less will be the chances of infection.
It prevents the formation of contractures and any deformities. It is very useful for burns involving the joints, face and hands. If a burn wound is allowed to heal without intervention then the skin heals with contraction, and forms contractures which can lead to serious deformities and disability besides being cosmetically demoralising for the patient.
Earlier, contractures were allowed to form and treated with skin grafting at a later date. These days early skin grafting can be done within the first week (especially for face, hand and joint surface burns ) if the patient is stable, which prevents the formation of contractures. Skin grafting involves taking skin from the healthy areas of the body (usually the thigh area if it is not involved ), meshing it and putting it on the wound. The donor area also heals as new skin grows.