A burn is an injury caused by heat, cold, electricity, chemicals, gases, friction and radiation (including sunlight). A significant burn can include the following:

  • Burns greater than 10% of total body surface area (TBSA)
  • Burns of special areas—face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum, and major joints.
  • Full thickness burns greater than 5% of TBSA
  • Electrical burns
  • Chemical burns
  • Burns with an associated inhalation injury
  • Circumferential burns of the limbs or chest.
  • Burns in the very young or very old.
  • Burns in people with pre-existing medical disorders that could complicate management, prolong recovery, or increase mortality.
  • Burns with associated trauma.

All infants and children with burns should be medically assessed

Initial Approach

  • Ensure the safety for rescuers, bystanders, and the victim.
  • Call for Ambulance.
  • DO NOT enter a burning or toxic atmosphere without appropriate protection.
  • Stop the burning process:
    • Stop, Drop, Cover and Roll
    • Smother any flames with a blanket.
  • Move away from the burn source to a safe environment as soon as possible.
  • Assess the adequacy of airway and breathing.
  • Check for other injuries.
  • If safe, and if trained to do so, give oxygen to all victims with smoke inhalation or facial injury.
  • The aims of first aid treatment of burns should be to stop the burning process, cool the burn and cover the burn. This will provide pain relief and minimise tissue loss.