Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Iyar 5760 - May 24, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by











Home and Family
Guidelines for Bonfires and Burn Treatment
by Betzalel Kahn

Magen David Adom issued guidelines for the kindling of bonfires and the first aid treatment of burns. Magen David relates that every year, children and youngsters are burned because they don't know how to make bonfires and because they use flammable fluids in order to light and fan them.

According to the guidelines of Magen Dovid Adom, wood may be added to a burning bonfire very carefully, and only when the wind is blowing from behind the person adding it. Adults should keep a close watch on small children and make sure that they remain at a safe distance from the bonfire. It is recommended to use tree stumps or branches, and not flammable fluids, in order to build up the fire.

A person whose clothing has caught fire should be laid on the ground and rolled in the earth, or large amounts of water should be poured over him in order to extinguish the fire. The victim may also be covered with a wet blanket, his head remaining exposed. While taking these measures, one should call Magen David Adom at its emergency number: 101.

One should not remove or tear off charred clothing which had clung to the victim in the area of the burn. Wet and cold sterile compresses should be placed on the region of the burn.

Burns over limited areas of the body should be cooled with water immediately or else cooled by means of cold and damp compresses (preferably sterile ones). Cloth handkerchiefs or items of clothing soaked in water may also be used.

One should not pierce a blister or remove skin. By the same token one should not spread creams or other substances on the burn.

If a spark gets into someone's the eye, the eye should be rinsed with a copious amount of cold water.

Children should wear shoes at bonfires, as well as long pants and long-sleeved shirts, in order to protect their skin from sparks, crawling animals and various reptiles which are attracted to the light and the heat of the bonfire. Each bonfire should be supervised by adults who should make certain that water pails or containers, as well as up-to-date first aid kits, are easily accessible.

A long-time activist in burn treatment from Bnei Brak, Mrs. Silman (03-677-7146) adds, from her experience:

For emergency first aid for burns, immediately begin cooling the burn, either directly with a stream of water or by immersing in water, and continue cooling with cool compresses. Ice can be added in the summer, from time to time. Do this for many hours. (For chemical burns, cooling is not necessary, but frequent washing/flushing is very important to rid site of all residue.)

Very important: Do not let the victim turn blue from cold! There is a serious danger of shock, so warm the rest of the body with adequate clothing while keeping the injured areas as cool as possible. In winter, it may be necessary to heat the room. Monitor the patient for shivering.

Vitamin E or cold-pressed olive oil can be poured directly on the wound, under the compresses.

Cooling the burns will help at any stage, even if not done at once. The initial cooling after the burn should be done for hours in order to be effective! The heat is still locked inside the body and it continues to damage the tissues, causing swelling, blisters, inflammation. Effective water cooling can definitely prevent the need for skin grafts and avoid scars!

An even teaspoon of salt or a small amount of antiseptic can be added to five cups of cold water (1 liter) for the compresses.

After a thorough cooling of several hours, a good portion of the burns will shrink and even disappear, while the rest will be more superficial. Typically, you will have reduced the degree of the burns from third to second, or from second to first. The pain will also have been considerably reduced.

BURNSHIELD (a commercial bandage product for burns) is also an effective method of treatment. These pretreated bandages, available at your pharmacy, should be in any medicine cabinet. They should be changed every four hours.

After the initial first aid of cooling for many hours, the patient may require oral antibiotics, salves, Vitamin E or cold-pressed olive oil, or oral Vitamin C. His diet should contain a great deal of proteins. Healthful milkshakes with eggs and cream are recommended as well as zinc supplements. Consult a trained person.

Cooling will continue to help relieve pain and lower the heat of the burn. Wash frequently but do not scrape the burn, as you will be removing the new tissue.

A segulah for healing, as brought in Pele Yoetz, is to recite the pesukim of Bircas Kohanim three times very fervently.

At this point, we would also like to warn mothers about their hot water urn on the Shabbos hotplate. Secure them well. Make sure they are not accessible to children. Make sure they will not tip over easily, or that the spout will not catch on clothing etc. The hospitals are too full of religious children with hot water injuries!


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.