Thermal injuries caused by ignition of volatile substances by gas water heaters

Randi L. Rutan, Manu H. Desai, David N. Hemdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Based on the cumulative data of this tertiary care facility over the past 25 years, one out of every 70 pediatric patients admitted to our institution sustained their injuries during an explosive event instigated by the ignition of volatile substances from gas water heaters. The majority of injuries related to gas water heaters can be prevented by decreasing the temperature setpoint of the heater, by protecting the heater element itself, and by elevating the water heater to 18 inches above the floor. The first two issues have been adequately addressed; however, gas-fueled water heaters continue to be installed at floor level. Current national guidelines are too rigid and do not adequately address water-heater installation in private residences. Although general prevention campaigns target appropriate storage of volatile substances, they rarely address the explosive potential of gas water heaters in combination with combustible fumes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-220
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • General Nursing
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • General Health Professions


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