Emollient Fire Risk

ingstand emollient fire risk and how to reduce the risk?

Emollients are moisturising treatments that are applied directly to the skin to soothe and hydrate it.  The way emollients work is by covering the skin with a protective film which helps to contain the moisture.

Emollients can be found within many products including those available over the counter.  For example lotions, sprays, creams, ointments, soap Substitutes e.g. shower gels, leave-on products.  Types of emollients include Paraffin, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, Lanolin, Nut Oil and Mineral Oils.

But why is there an emollient fire risk?

These emollients are not flammable in themselves.  Emollient fire risk exist because the emollient gets absorbed into clothing ad other material.  If exposed to naked flames or other heat sources, the emollient in the material can act as an accelerant.  The resulting fire burns quickly and intensely and can cause serious injury or death.

Emollient fire risk

How serious is the emollient fire risk?

Every year there are a number of fire fatalities and serious incidences across the county which have involved the use of emollient products.  In the last decade, greater than 50 people have died or been seriously injured after emollient cream dried on bed sheets or clothing set alight while people were smoking.

Flammability increases each time a fabric is exposed to emollient.  Even repeated washing of clothing, bandages and bedding at a high temperature may not fully remove the fire risk.  The emollient fire risk increases if emollient is being applied over large parts of the body.

Those most at risk include those with reduced mobility and those who smoke.  Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging these individuals, their families and their carers to be alert to the emollient fire risk.

How to reduce the risk?

  • Keep away from fire, flames and cigarettes.
  • Do not smoke in bed
  • Consider using a flameless lighter or e-cigarette.
  • Do not sit too close to open fires, gas fires or halogen heaters if your clothes etc have been in contact with emollients.
  • Wash clothing and bedding frequently at the highest temperature allowed by the fabric care instructions – this reduces build-up of an emollient.
  • Consider a misting system.
  • Contact your local fire service to ask for a Safe and Well visit – https://www.rbfrs.co.uk

Perhaps Gardiner’s could help you or a loved one to better manage the risk associate with pro-longed use of emollients?

Gardiner's Homecare