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Local Paramedic Teams Up With National Campaign to Stop Gasoline Fires

Monday, May 23, 2011 General News J E 4
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Goal of summer effort is to reduce burn injuries to children

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For most people, Memorial Day weekend kicks off a summer filled with outdoor fun. As families begin planning beachside barbecues and backyard cookouts, a local paramedic is working to keep fun from turning into tragedy by spreading the word that gasoline and fire never mix.

Early in her career, Yvonne Feijoo treated a boy who was severely burned during a family picnic at the beach when gasoline was poured on a barbecue grill. That's one reason Feijoo has partnered with the National Gasoline Safety Project.

"Seeing a child severely burned breaks your heart and makes you mad at the same time," said Feijoo, now acting Public Information Officer with the Department of Fire Rescue in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

An independent study funded by the National Gasoline Safety Project found that 80% of parents don't use gas to start fires. But the survey also found that parents who mix gas and fire mistakenly think it's a normal thing to do.

That disconnect between perception and reality puts parents — and their children — at risk, said Amanda Emerson of the National Gasoline Safety Project. And that's especially worrisome during the summer, when families are more likely to be barbecuing or lighting campfires.

"Good parents do not use gas to start fires," Emerson said. "When parents use gas to start fires, they teach those dangerous behaviors to their children."

Though gasoline burn data is not directly tracked, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates about 1,500 children a year are injured or killed in gasoline fires. Approximately 14,500 Americans die each year from burn injuries and related infections.

The National Gasoline Safety Project includes a website, StopGasFires.org, where parents can see a video about a teenage gas burn survivor and connect with others parents. The initiative also has put hangtags on portable gasoline containers sold nationwide. The hangtags feature Feijoo and others who are working to stop gas fires in their communities.

The National Gasoline Safety Project is sponsored by the Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association in partnership with Shriners Hospitals for Children and Safe Kids USA.

SOURCE StopGasFires.org

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