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Burn Disasters—An Audit of the Literature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Carsten L. Broeze*
McComb Foundation and Telstra Burns Unit, Royal Perth Hospital, Western, Australia
Sian Falder
McComb Foundation and Telstra Burns Unit, Royal Perth Hospital, Western, Australia
Suzanne Rea
McComb Foundation and Telstra Burns Unit, Royal Perth Hospital, Western, Australia
Fiona Wood
McComb Foundation and Telstra Burns Unit, Royal Perth Hospital, Western, Australia
Telstra Burns Unit, South Block, Level 11, Royal Perth Hospital Wellington Street, Perth, Western Australia 6000, E-mail:


All events that result in disasters are unique, and it is impossible to become fully prepared. However, through thorough planning and preparedness, it is possible to gain a better understanding of the typical injury patterns and problems that arise from a variety of hazards. Such events have the potential to claim many lives and overwhelm local medical resources. Burn disasters vary in scope of injury and procedures required, and are much more labor and resource intensive than non-burn disasters.

This review of the literature should help determine whether, despite each event having its own unique features, there still are common problems disaster responders face in the prehospital and hospital phases, what recommendations were made from these disasters, and whether these recommendations have been implemented into practice and the current disaster planning processes.

The objective of this review was to assess: (1) prehospital and hospital responses used during past burn disasters; (2) problems faced during those disaster responses; (3) recommendations made following those disasters; (4) whether these recommendations were integrated into practice; and (5) the key characteristics of burn disasters and how they differ from other disasters. This review is important to determine why, despite having disaster plans, things still go wrong.

Comprehensive Review
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2010

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