MIAMI - In partnership with Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, and the UM/JM Burn Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, Florida Power & Light Company visited approximately 50 families in the Westchester neighborhood today to conduct free safety makeovers, evaluating potential for burns and other electrical and fire safety hazards.
The "Safer Homes, Fewer Burns" initiative coincided with National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13). Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto, Fire Marshall Chief Arthur L. Holmes, and Dr. Louis Pizano of the JM/UM Burn Center all joined forces with the FPL team to work with the homeowners to lessen their risk of burns and fires.
"Safety and savings are cornerstones of our company's commitment to our customers," said Manny J. Rodriguez, FPL's regional external affairs manager for Miami-Dade County. "We're thankful for the opportunity to unite with our partners to raise awareness of the dangers of burns and fires, helping customers learn how to be safer while saving energy and money at the same time."
To commemorate the occasion, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Souto has proclaimed Oct. 10 as "Burn Prevention Day" in the County. According to the CDC, there are 1.1 million burn injuries every year that require medical attention, with scalding water being the leading cause of burns.
"This is an excellent opportunity to remind my constituents in District 10, in fact all residents of Miami-Dade County, to take the necessary precautions to ensure their homes, inside and out, are safe from electrical and fire hazards," said Commissioner Souto. "I would like to thank all of the individuals with FPL, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and UM/JM Burn Center at Jackson's Ryder Trauma Center who dedicated their time and services to this community event."
Twelve teams of "Safer Homes, Fewer Burns" volunteers conducted safety makeovers including adjusting water heater temperatures, checking the safety of fuse boxes and power outlets, and checking smoke detectors to replace the equipment or replace batteries. Most of the "Safer Homes, Fewer Burns" work can be replicated by consumers at home using the following tips.
- In the kitchen, ensure the stovetop is clean with no grease or clutter; pot handles should be turned towards the back of the stove
- Check the condition of all electrical cords and extension cords. If they are damaged, cracked, or loose, replace them
- Make sure any space heaters are at least three feet from anything that can catch fire
- If you have a fireplace, ensure that the chimney has been inspected or cleaned within the last year
- Install smoke alarms on every level, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.
- All your smoke alarms should be newer than 10 years old
- Test all smoke alarms once a month
- Never overload electrical outlets
- Check your clothes dryer's exhaust to make sure it's not clogged with lint
- To avoid hot water scalds, make sure your water heater is set at no higher than 120°F. This can also save you money on your electric bill
- Use only professionals to trim trees near power lines and call 811 two full business days before planting or digging to locate underground utilities to avoid injury
"The UM/JM Burn Center is experienced in treating numerous types of burns from extremely severe to mild," said Dr. Louis Pizano, medical director of the UM/JM Burn Center. "However, most of these burns are preventable by fire proofing your homes and being aware of the proper protocol when handling boiling water, other hot liquids and objects."
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