AF&RS visit burns patients to prevent further injuries

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is supporting National Burns Awareness Day (17/10), with the help of the Burns Unit at North Bristol NHS Trust.

Hundreds of Fire and Rescue Services along with the NHS and other organisations come together each year on National Burn Awareness Day to raise awareness of the alarming number of people burned every day in the UK.

The campaign also helps to promote the importance of good first aid if a burn or scald does occur.

Between January and September 2018, 1,061 people were treated for burns across North Bristol NHS Trust.

According to the Trust, the main causes of burns are spills from hot oil, the kettle, saucepans and tea and coffee.

An overwhelming majority of burns also happen in the casualty’s home, with food preparation topping the list of when burns occurred.

Firefighters met with patients and handed out leaflets on safety, some of which can be avoided by people taking greater care while cooking.

AF&RS and NBT are hoping that by discussing the causes and prevention of burns, the rate can be lowered.

Ben Dickinson, Crew Manager for Risk Reduction at AF&RS, said: “We think it is really important to support Burns Awareness Day and help reduce the number of burns that happen every day in the UK.

“We know that the vast majority of burns that happen are caused in the kitchen and are accidents, most of which are avoidable.

“We want to show that by taking extra care and following a few simple steps, the number of incidents can be drastically reduced.”

If a burn does occur, good first aid can make a huge difference in recovery times and severity of scarring. Remember – cool, call and cover.

Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound).

Call for help – 999 in an emergency, or 111 or local GP for non-emergency advice

Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm.

Nicola Mackey, Matron ASCR, Lead Nurse South West UK Burn Care Network, from NBT, added: “As a burns unit we see people who have suffered significant burns injuries, which can be life-changing.

“A high proportion of the injuries we see happen in the home, often in the kitchen, and could be prevented by following some safety steps when cooking.

“This is why it is so important for us to support Burns Awareness Day, to help people understand how they can reduce the risk of suffering injuries, and what they can do if they suffer a burn or are with someone who has.

“It is great to have our colleagues from Avon Fire and Rescue Service here today to support us in spreading these important messages.”

How to cook safely:

  • Take extra care if you need to leave the kitchen whilst cooking, take pans off the heat or turn them down to avoid risk.
  • Make sure saucepan handles don't stick out - so they don't get knocked off the stove.
  • Take care if you're wearing loose clothing - it can easily catch fire.
  • Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  • Spark devices are safer than matches or lighters to light gas cookers because they don't have a naked flame.
  • Double check the cooker is off when you've finished cooking.

Deep fat frying

  • Take care when cooking with hot oil - it sets alight easily.
  • Make sure food is dry before putting it in hot oil so it doesn't splash.
  • If the oil starts to smoke - it's too hot. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
  • Use a thermostatically controlled electric deep fat fryer. They can't overheat.
  • What to do if a pan catches fire
  • Don't take any risks. Turn off the heat if it's safe to do so. Never throw water over it.
  • Don't tackle the fire yourself.
  • Get out, stay out, and call 999.

Take care with electrics

  • Keep electrics (leads and appliances) away from water.
  • Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
  • Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build up of fat and grease can ignite a fire.
  • Don't put anything metal in the microwave.