If you find yourself in a situation where you or someone else has been burned, you need to respond quickly. Burn injuries are a serious health and safety issue and account for over 300 000 deaths every year.


Calling an emergency number and waiting for paramedics or professionals is the first thing to do in this situation. However, if you are unable to reach anyone, or if it is going to take long for help to arrive, you need to take action. Burn injuries require quick responses in order to minimise damage. First Aid training comes in especially handy in situations like these.

There are a variety of factors that can increase a person’s burn risk, one of the main ones being the influence of alcohol. The treatment that a victim receives before getting to a hospital can dramatically impact the abilities and chance of life for that person. This is why we are writing this article.

The first issue to deal with when on the scene of a fire is to ensure that the environment of the victim is now safe. If there is still a source of danger, remove it, and remove the victim from the area of danger. If burning is still taking place, it does not to be stopped, but large burns must not be “cooled” or irrigated for long periods of time as this may cause hypothermia. The next issue is to ensure that the victims air way is clear and if necessary, to perform CPR.


Remember that a burn victim will very rarely die directly from a burn injury. The more dangerous sources of death are from smoke or gas inhalation. Therefore, first ensure that these concerns are adhered to before looking at the burns.

Signs of inhalation injury vary and include soot in the throat, burns near the face, hoarseness, coughing, lethargy, or an altered level of consciousness. Rather treat a patient as if they have experienced inhalation injury than if they haven’t. Provide high flow oxygen and consider intubation. This is necessary because internal throat burns can swell extremely fast and the irritation that the body is experiencing can cause the airways to close very quickly.

The burns then need to be assessed and diagnosed with regard to what degree they are. For small burns, cold water can be used to relieve pain, and for larger burns the use of moistened gauze with sterilisation can be used. This will soothe the patient as burns are extremely painful. Cover the patient with a clean sheet to keep them warm and do your best to ensure that they are hydrated.

More complex and medically practiced treatment will take place once help has arrived, so this article can only help with pre-hospital treatment, but this time can also be the most important in determining the final outcome of the patient.