Broderick Rhyant, M.D.,
chief physician executive
Eskenazi Health Center Forest Manor
For many of us in Central Indiana, this time of year when the football season is in full swing, the unique and wonderful smell of burning leaves is in the air, and family and friends gather and enjoy fellowship around bonfires, is one of the best times to be living in Indiana. But along with all the joy the fall season brings to so many of us, there are dangers we need to be aware of and protect against.
The careless use of outdoor fire pits, bonfires, grills and patio heaters too often cause serious injuries and sometimes death to unsuspecting individuals not taking the proper precautions. Doctors with the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health encourage everyone to be attentive while pursuing traditional fall activities, particularly the one’s where fire is used for any reason.
The first step prior to lighting any fire is check to ensure that outdoor fires are legal in your community. If outdoor fires are permitted, only build them where they can be easily contained.
While starting your fire do not use accelerants such as lighter fluid to grow your fire in a hurry because they can be extremely unsafe. Not only can accelerants release toxic fumes, but they can start an explosion or cause your fire to grow too quickly and get out of control.
Never leave any fire unattended because a sudden slight gust of wind may blow sparks onto surrounding leaves, dry grass or brush, and the result could be a devastating catastrophe causing personal injuries and damage to valuable property. To prevent that from happening, it’s always wise to have a garden hose and buckets of water nearby whenever you’re dealing with fire.
While outside enjoying fall activities, remember that the COVID-19 virus is still a danger and we recommend everyone observe social distancing and remain six feet apart from other people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that’s especially true for older adults who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, which means they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they might even die. The risk increases for people in their 50s and even more so for those in their 60s, 70s and 80s. People 85 and older are the most likely to get very sick.
The Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center wants to decrease the number of burn injuries this fall by educating the community and encouraging everyone to be extra careful this time of year. The burn center has already treated patients burned while involved in multiple activities, such as improperly lighting fireworks, this past summer. For more information on the Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health visit: https://www.eskenazihealth.edu/health-services/burn-center