Tulsa Doctor and Firefighter Team Up With National Campaign to Stop Gasoline Fires

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

TULSA, Okla., May 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- For many families, Memorial Day signals the start of summer fun. But as families plan backyard barbecues or campouts in the woods, a local doctor and a firefighter are working to remind parents that gas and fire never mix.

Dr. James Johnson, a burn specialist, and Tulsa Fire Marshal Tom Hufford, who founded a summer camp for children with severe burn injuries, have partnered with the National Gasoline Safety Project.

An independent survey funded by the National Gasoline Safety Project found that most parents — 80% — do not use gas to start fires. But those who do use gas mistakenly think it's something lots of parents do.

"Good parents don't use gas to start fires. It's as simple as that," said Johnson, a burn specialist at Hillcrest Hospital in Tulsa.

Hufford, assistant fire marshal at the Tulsa Fire Department and a longtime safety educator who frequently performs as "Huffy" the fire-safety clown, said parents who use gas to start fires teach that unsafe behavior by example.

"Kids learn from what their parents do as much as from what they say," he said. "If parents could come visit the kids in our summer camp, I know they'd think twice."

Though gasoline burn data is not directly tracked, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates 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 aims to put an end to gas fires and burns through an initiative that includes a website,, where parents can view videos about a teenage gas burn survivor and connect with others parents though email, Facebook and Twitter.

The National Gasoline Safety Project also has placed hangtags on portable gasoline containers sold across the nation. The hangtags feature Johnson and Hufford as well as 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 (PFCMA) in partnership with Shriners Hospitals for Children and Safe Kids USA. Local gas can maker Blitz USA is a member of the PFCMA.




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