What to do if clothing catches fire

Adults and children should all know what to do if clothing catches fire, so that they can act quickly in an emergency.

Use water or a blanket

A fast way of putting out a clothing fire is to roll the person in a woollen blanket, thick item of clothing or fire blanket. You can also use water to put the fire out.

Never use acrylic material to try to extinguish the fire – this can make the situation worse, and result in deep and severe burns.

Protect the face

Fire spreads upwards, which is why it’s important to drop to the floor so as to protect the face. The best method is to lie down and roll around until the flames go out.

First aid for burns injuries:

  • Keep calm
  • Cool the burn immediately under cold, running water for at least ten minutes, and preferably up to half an hour
  • Tissue in the area of the burn can swell, so remove any tight belts, bands, jewellery, etc. from the vicinity
  • If burnt clothing is stuck to the skin, never try to remove this yourself
  • Cover the burn with clean fabric, e.g. a bandage or cotton dressing, to keep the area clean and prevent infection until the burn can be treated by a doctor

Remember that any extensive or deep burns must always be treated by a doctor.

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