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Understanding Burn Care



The first step to burn safety is preventing an injury from happening. Burn injury prevention involves implementing a comprehensive strategy that includes components from each of the "Five E's."


Burns can occur at any time, in any place and to anyone. In providing burn prevention, information, education and materials, it is important to know your audience (e.g., adults, children, college students, older adults, people with disabilities, diverse cultural or language populations), as well as which burn prevention messages are most appropriate (scald prevention, youth firesetting, kitchen safety, etc).

& Education

Providing educational materials, classes, brochures, information via media venues, etc.

Modifying the environment or installing equipment such as sprinklers, smoke alarms, etc.

Instituting mandatory codes, laws, regulations, standards; and monitoring for compliance

Implementing financial incentives to motivate behavior change; financial incentives can be positive (coupons or discounts for buying smoke alarms or installing sprinklers) or negative (fees, fines or penalties for not complying)

When injuries do occur, implementing an effective emergency response (e.g., EMS providers, fire departments, law enforcement, emergency medical care) helps to mitigate the severity and maximize positive outcomes.

Prevention of burns can be done most effectively through education, which increases awareness to this devastating injury and motivates behavior change. According to the World Health Organization, burn injury is a major global public health concern. Legislative efforts have helped to enforce safety measures in manufacturing products for consumers. Development of product safety guidelines and the enforcement of codes and laws are making a difference in burn prevention. But, providing the first “E" – "Education” – is key to changing individual behavior to create a safer environment for all.

Special Burn Prevention Education Considerations

Burn prevention is not a one-size-fits-all program. Knowing your audience and burn injuries that affect them will help guide your selection of messages, materials and method of presentation to create safety awareness and change behaviors.


Appropriate Messaging for Age and Target Market

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) publishes the Educational Messages Desk Reference that includes fire safety education messages to provide fire and life safety educators with accurate and consistent language. Fire safety messages include: Home Smoke Alarms, Home Fire Sprinklers, Home Fire Escape, Burns, etc. In addition, NFPA provides a number of Tip Sheets on a number of fire safety messages in a number of languages and reading levels.


Using Burn Survivor Images in Burn Prevention Education

Using images of burn survivors as well as having burn survivors participate in burn prevention education can be powerful in conveying your message. There are special considerations to keep in mind when using burn survivor images and stories. The Phoenix Society has outlined the “do’s and don’ts” of using burn survivor images and stories in your burn prevention education presentations.


Customizable Prevention Materials Generator

Developed by a team of fire safety and communications experts using messages that were tested with different audiences, Vision 20/20 materials can be used to enhance your community risk reduction and home safety visit programs. Using the Materials Generator tool, you can generate customized door hangers, fliers and activity guides using proven fire safety messages with your logo and information that you can then download and print out.

Tip Sheet:

The American Burn Association (ABA) is dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by burn injury. The ABA has a number of prevention materials, including Award-Winning Burn Prevention Posters.

Burn Education Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saves lives and protects people from health threats. The CDC provides burn prevention and fire prevention materials. The CDC also publishes the Childhood Injury Report.

(CPSC) has a fire safety information center with information on off-campus housing and fire safety guides. The CPSC also maintains

Federation of Burn Foundations serves as an organization to help bring together a number of burn organizations to share information and resources between each of them and with the public.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a wide variety of information and fire prevention resources for consumers and public educators. The NFPA also has a variety of community tool kits and Tip Sheets (in multiple languages) that can be downloaded for handouts.

Safe Kids is a global organization dedicated to preventing injuries in children. Safe Kids Worldwide provides burn prevention education for children ages 0-19 years old and their parents.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) develops and delivers fire prevention and safety education programs. USFA works with public and private groups to improve fire prevention and safety through research, testing and evaluation. USFA sponsors the national Fire is Everyone’s Fight™ campaign.

Vision 20/20 is a project of the Institution of Fire Engineers-USA comprised of fire service and related agency leaders that guide a national strategic planning process for fire loss prevention. Vision 20/20 provides customizable fire prevention materials that can be used to enhance your Community Risk Reduction and Home Safety Visit programs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) directs and coordinates international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO provides data collection on burns and international statistics on burns worldwide.

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering during emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and through the generosity of donors. Visit their website for information on Fire Safety and Prevention.

An innovative national program designed  expressly to help fire and life safety educators, burn

clinicians and injury prevention professionals reach adults with life-saving information they need to prevent scalds in and around homes.

The Five E's of Burn Injury Prevention




Economic Incentives

Emergency Response

For more information on Community Risk Reduction, developing strategies and implementing a comprehensive prevention and education plan, visit the Vision 20/20: National Strategies for Fire Loss Prevention website.

Burn centers provide burn care outreach education to fire fighters, first responders, EMS providers, community hospitals, students (medical, nursing, therapists, etc.) and other groups. Topics typically covered include: scene safety, stopping the burning process, initial care/triage/treatment, transfer guidelines, burn injury etiology, burn depth, determining burn severity, expected treatment, strategies to optimize outcomes and methods to prevent future injuries. Contact your local burn center to request training.

Prevention Tips and Tools