A ‘Spark’ Reminder about Electrical Safety

By: Stephanie Stanley

This February, the American Burn Association (ABA) marks National Burn Awareness Week with a focus on electrical safety. Electrical injuries can occur from unprotected electrical outlets, improperly used extension cords, lightning and workplace electrical injuries.

Dr. Jenny Ziembicki

“Electrical injuries can be associated with significant mortality rates and the devastating loss of limbs,” said Dr. Jenny Ziembicki, director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center. “Most injuries occur to young males in work-related accidents. Each year we treat more than a dozen patients whose lives are changed forever due to electrical injuries at UPMC Mercy.”

The ABA offers these electrical-burn prevention tips:

• Pay attention to overhead power lines when working outside on a ladder.
• Use covers to keep fingers and other items out of outlets.
• Don’t overload outlets or power strips with too many cords.
• Keep electric cords, including phone chargers, away from the kitchen, bathroom and other sources of water.

An American Burn Association–verified burn center, the UPMC Mercy Burn Center was the first in Pennsylvania, and one of the first in the U.S. In addition, UPMC Mercy is a Level I Regional Resource Trauma Center. The combination of burn and trauma services under one roof gives UPMC Mercy the unique ability to care for the most critically ill and injured patients.

The UPMC Mercy Burn Center offers a wide variety of resources and injury prevention programs tailored to meet the needs of various groups or organizations, including burn camp for pediatric patients at Camp Susquehanna and “Learn Not to Burn” classes offered to elementary schools.

For more information, call 412-232-8375.