With fireworks season fast approaching, South East Coast
Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is supporting
National Burns Awareness Day on Wednesday 19 October by reminding
people of the importance of administering the right first aid for
burns and scalds.

While most burns are usually minor, giving the
right first aid quickly following a burn or a scald can
significantly improve a person’s recovery time and limit the
severity of any scarring.

With a more serious burn, which may require
treatment from ambulance crews and further specialist treatment at
hospital, it’s especially vital that first aid treatment is
provided and instruction over the phone from ambulance staff

Burns of course happen all year round and
across the South East, around 200 people are admitted to the
region’s specialist burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East
Grinstead each year. A further 1,000 patients are referred to the
unit for specialist burns treatment each year. And across A&E
departments in England and Wales it is estimated that some 300
people a day are seen with a burn.

It’s thought that more than half of all
children and adults with a burn injury do not immediately receive
appropriate first aid at the scene.

People can make a real difference to someone’s
recovery from a burn by remembering to “Cool, Call and Cover”:

  • Cool the
    with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove
    all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly struck to
    the wound)
  • Call for
    – you can call the NHS 111 service for initial advice
    on treating burns or call your local GP. In an emergency, call
  • Cover the
    with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or
    cloth.  Make sure the patient is kept warm

SECAmb will also be helping raise awareness of
burns via its Twitter account @SECAmbulance on 19

Further information

Children and the elderly are especially
vulnerable to burns and scalds. Around 42 per cent of those needing
specialist burns care are children, with hot drinks the most common
cause of scald injury in children, followed by contact with
electric cookers, hair straighteners, irons and central heating

The elderly are most often burnt by contact
with central heating radiators or baths that are too hot. 
Adults are also at risk of burns from hot fat, barbecues and
bonfires – never try to speed up your barbecue with petrol or other
flammable accelerants.

Kitchens are most common
place for burns to happen

More information about
treating burns and scalds is available on the NHS Choices