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OT, Bad situation, plan ahead!

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  • OT, Bad situation, plan ahead!

    Gentlemen (and Ladies, if you read this):

    A week ago I got a bad burn from auto antifreeze boiling out onto my arm and shirt, and it occured to me that it might be well to mention an approach to handling this situation if it ever confronted you.

    I was checking the radiator of my vehicle which had been sitting for a few minutes, and (foolishly) removed the radiator cap to check the liquid level. Upon release of the pressure, the boiling antifreeze shot out onto my arm, shirt, and face, and I was in such pain and shock!!! I raced into the kitchen and spayed water from the sink onto my burning parts, moaning and hollering as I did so!

    We have all heard of the little kid who came into the kitchen when his mother was cooking something on the stove, the kid managed to dump the hot liquid onto himself and suffered a bad burn, sometimes effecting him for life! Of course a parent or other adult immediately came to the rescue when the screaming was heard, but what course of action did the adult take? When I asked my daughter (who also has kids) what she would do, she thought and said, "Maybe I'd tear off the wet clothes?" Well,if the water was boiling, won't it be too hot for you to do that? In my case the shirt and undershirt were hard to tear and take too much time!And if you think a minute, you may come up with other alternatives.

    In my case I had decided that getting the victim to the kitchen sink and dousing him with the sprayer was the best approach to handling scalding, most of which occurs around home. The damage from burning is due to 1)*temperature* of the liquid and 2) amount of *time* the victim is exposed. So getting cool water onto the HOT HOT area ASAP seems to be the best idea.

    Sometimes we encounter other situations, some of which can be thought out ahead of time; and if we do, likely we can react with better results than if we had never considered the choices.


    Jack C.

  • #2
    For large area burns, advice on first aid from the medical folks would be better....

    But for small burns, I have had very good results from heading straight to the fridge and getting a piece of ice out.

    I run the ice under water a moment (if possible) and slap it on the spot, moving it around so I don't get frostbite....the water takes off the sub-zero chill before you slap it on.

    I have had burns disappear in two days doing this, when they would have hung around much longer if I had not.

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan


    • #3
      It can happen in a split second in the shop.

      My tennis shoes while I was welding burst into flame. I did about a hundred kicks back and forth in about three seconds.(really fast) GEEZE did that get hot. My whole shoe was ruined. It flamed up like gasoline.

      I was welding some conduit brackets up one time while wearing a snowmobile suit. AS I was making a perfect bead the image of the tag that had been on the suit came to mind. DANGER propolyene, Highly flammable. I got someone else to finish the welding.

      Then the guy who was welding next to a paint can that exploded..

      When it happens. it happens fast. A burn hurts like heck..

      David Cofer, Of:
      Tunnel Hill, North Georgia


      • #4

        Unless you can get to cool water in a few seconds (or less), I doubt that it is going to do much good. On most burns, the damage is done very quickly. On splashes or sprays, the surface area of the liquid is so great that the actual liquid (on the skin) is probably cool in a few seconds (can depend on the liquid sometimes....).

        However, cool water WILL help the hurting.......

        Best thing to do is "THINK before you do something that involves hot materials", but your warning is definitely welcome. It reminds us all that accidents happen when we aren't careful.

        Regards and have a rapid recovery......




        • #5
          Not an OT topic at all, this confronts all of us metal workers and hands on people at one time or another. Good post series.

          Fire Blankets - best thing to have in welding areas for ones personal safety. When the fire gets out of control too quickly on ones person, this is better than an extinguisher.

          CCBW, MAH


          • #6
            I got a 4x6foot piece of "a" cloth. I think it is actually a silicon impregnated fiberglass cloth thou.

            You put it over anything you don't want to burn up with a cutting torch, welding or grinding.

            We have had it on my lathe, on my mill, over the ways.. It will itch the devil out of you.

            No ideal where to buy more. I'd like a layer of this in my casting leather apron..
            Perhaps someone can tell me. I fear casting alone. I have been warned. Even thou I follow saftey rules set down by myself bad things could still happen.

            David Cofer, Of:
            Tunnel Hill, North Georgia


            • #7
              David, a friend of mine told me about a product he saw recently. Hs said that his Matco man showed him some cloth that seemed to have a thickness and texture much like fleece(the synthetic kind, like light jackets are made of), that doesn't even conduct heat from one side to the other until somewhere around 1800 F.
              Seems it would be a good lining for home foundry wear. If it's true.
              He said the tool man demonstrated it with a rosebud on one side and his hand on the other.
              Don't recall how hot a rosebud gets.


              • #8
                sure it aint some form of ceramics?


                • #9
                  The fire blanket stuff can be found at about any welding supply store,, expensive though.

                  A tool supply house will often have this stuff in rolls, you can buy most any size and its not quite as expensive as the pre-made/cut stuff.


                  • #10
                    Some years ago I was gas cutting about 45ft up on a chimney platform with no hand rail when some molten metal leapt onto my overalls, burnt through to my calf and down into my boot, I just had to curse and bear the pain until it cooled down. That burn would`t respond to medication and the infection ate right into the muscle. My good dog "Tan" took to licking the festering sore and it healed up in about 5 days. Some old boys I knew claimed that dog saliva has healing properties and they allowed their dogs to do the same whenever they were injured when in the bush hunting.
                    Whenever I have cuts or burns then I tear off leaves from our Aloe Vera plant, smear the area liberally and often, and it does the job often without scaring. Cold water is needed for burns immediately as the flesh can continue to cook for a time and it is a barrier to infection. One last thing is when lifting the radiater cap I cover it with a large rag or such and only partially move that cap to relieve the pressure.Most often I sit somewhere till the thing cools down, These days I`m not in such a hurry and it is a much safer course of action.
                    cheers . Ken

                    [This message has been edited by speedy (edited 09-28-2004).]


                    • #11
                      I agree with Ken. I have always read that the best thing to do is get the burn cooled down as soon as possible. It might be a waitress in a restaurant that breaks a coffee container and gets scalded with hot coffee. Throw something cold on her clothes as soon as possibe to stop the burning. Usually people just panic because they don't know what to do. Sure hope you get better soon, burns can be bad.
                      I forgot to mention, just in case somebody doesn't know, if a radiator and cap are in proper working condition this won't happen if you open the cap properly. If the cap is opened slowly the steam will excape through the overflow tube as the pressure is released before the cap is off. Do not remove the cap in one fast motion, but slowly and like somebody mentioned use a bath towel or some large cloth over the cap just in case.

                      [This message has been edited by Michael Az (edited 09-28-2004).]


                      • #12
                        Heat transfer to skin/tissue occurs so rapidly that above ~140F the tissue damage time is in the 1sec range. With molten objects such as plastic, tar, metal there is an enormous heat release as the material changes from the liquid to solid phase, so external cooling to suck off some of this heat is highly advisable. For non molten burns, cooling is not going to reduce tissue damage a whole lot for something like small amounts of hot liquid splashed on you. The cold water/ice treatment is useful to turn off the nerves that transmit pain (imprecise terminology) and the relief is instantaneous. However for larger burns, above 5% body area (palm is 1% body surface area, arm as a whole is 9% BSA) there is a risk of over cooling and shivering if present is a sign of this.