Fire Captain Bud Davenport said the fire department has received several calls over the years where a child had a high fever, which resulted in a seizure.
As it turns out, many of the families who made those calls reported not having a thermometer in the home.
The Garner Fire Department is trying to fix that.
The department was awarded a $1,000 grant in February from the N.C. Burned Children’s Fund. The department has used the grant to purchase thermometers and bath temperature gauges for people who cannot afford them.
“This grant would help meet that need,” Davenport said. “We have them on all of our trucks. This is a way we can give them one or if they need one they can come and get it.”
“It was just a natural fit.”
Jeffrey Hammerstein, the chief of outreach for Wake County EMS, said EMS sees febrile seizures on a regular basis.
“They can last from few seconds to a few minutes,” he said. “It’s a terrifying thing for parents to see, but there is no lasting effect from that. It’s certainly good for people to have a thermometer to monitor health of everyone in the house. The more you manage your health the better.”
While the thermometers will help parents recognize whether their child has a fever, the bath temperature gauges will also give people a sense of how hot their water is. And it’s more common for people to have thermometers than bath thermometers.
Over 500,000 scald burns occur each year in the United States, according to burnfoundation.org, making them the leading cause of burn injury to children under four.
Dr. Ernest Grant, the outreach coordinator for the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center, said young children, older adults and people with disabilities are most vulnerable to those burns.
“Their skin is very thin,” Grant said, “and it will result in a much deeper burn. So you’re probably looking at a deep second- or third-degree burn.”
Third-degree burns are the most serious.
For those with disabilities, distinguishing between hot and cold may be difficult and they often won’t realize it until it’s too late. For instance, diabetics can often be at risk of such burns, Grant said.
“They may have to have surgery for skin grafts to replace skin that has been burned,” Grant said. “There is also a greater chance for infection, recovery time being slowed and, of course, there is the rehabilitation as well.”
“Sometimes (in) as little as three seconds or less it could debilitate someone for the rest of their life,” Grant said.
Tips to Stay Safe
▪ Set your water heater at 120º F or just below the medium setting.
▪ Use a thermometer to test the water coming out of your bath water tap.
▪ Run your hand through bath water to test for hot spots.
▪ The recommended bathing temperature is 100º F