Therapeutic Wheat Bags
Wheat bags or wheat pillows are often used to provide relief from the body's aches and pains but if they are used incorrectly they are also a fire and a burn hazard.
Wheat bags are fabric bags filled with wheat (or other grains). They are heated in a microwave oven and then placed on the body to apply warmth.
Fires have occurred when wheat bags have been used as 'hot water bottles' to warm a bed. Further instances have been reported where wheat bags were found to be smouldering after they have been over-heated in a microwave oven.
If a wheat bag is over-heated the likelihood of ignition is enhanced if the wheat bag is insulated with blankets or a quilt when being used to warm a bed.
In addition, burns to the skin may occur with an over-heated wheat bag especially if it is being used on a baby, young child or an elderly person.
The MFS recommends that the following fire safety guidelines be applied when using these products:
- Do not overheat wheat bags. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Use wheat bags only as a heat pack for direct application to the body. Do not use them as bed warmers.
- Do not use wheat bags in bed to avoid the danger of falling asleep whilst they are in use.
- Use wheat bags with extreme caution with the elderly.
- Do NOT use wheat bags with babies or young children.
- Do not reheat until the wheat bag has completely cooled. Reheating before the bag has cooled may be just as dangerous as overheating.
- Watch for these signs of over-use: an over-cooked odour; a smell of burning; or, in extreme cases, smoking and/or charring. Discard the wheat bag after cooling if you observe any of these signs.
- Do not put wheat bags into storage until they are cold. Leave them to cool on a non-combustible surface such as a kitchen sink.
For further advice ring the Community Safety & Resilience Department 8204 3611, Country callers 1300 737 637
visit our website www.mfs.sa.gov.au
or call in to 99 Wakefield Street, Adelaide during business hours.