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Be Burn Aware This Autumn

Be Burn Aware This Autumn

Sharing burn awareness information is even more important to firefighters in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes this year – as many of our typical autumn celebrations are likely to look slightly different.

With many public organised events being cancelled this year, celebrating safely at home, is going to be a key message from emergency services.

Over the coming weeks you will see lots of messages from us, as well as from your local authority which will be keeping you up to date on the latest COVID-19 control measures in your area.

Community Safety Manager, Joanne Cook, said: “Candles and fireworks both have the potential to cause burns, and are common features through the late autumn period, often being used during events around Halloween (Saturday 31 October), Bonfire night (Thursday 5 November) and Diwali (Saturday 14 November).

“Being burned or scalded can mean years of painful treatment and, in the worst cases, hundreds of operations to release the scar tissue. While things like candles and fireworks have a high profile at this time of year, it can be easy to overlook how simple measures can help reduce the risk of getting burnt when distracted in the home.”

Burns can also be caused by more standard household items, such as hot drinks, bathing or washing up water, irons, hair straighteners, and even some household cleaners.

Joanne added: “Many people don’t realise that children and older people are the most vulnerable to burns and scalds, and the majority of injuries occur as a result of an accident that could so easily have been prevented.

“We are also keen to help raise awareness that however the burn occurs simple, quick and appropriate treatment can make a massive difference to someone’s life. Please keep reading this item to find out the best way to treat a burn or scald, from our colleagues at the specialist burns unit at Stoke Mandeville”

Joanne’s safety tips to help avoid a burn or scald in the home:


  • Install smoke alarms on each floor and test regularly
  • Keep hot drinks out of reach of babies and young children
  • Make and practise fire escape plans with the whole family
  • Run COLD water first in the bath or sink before adding hot water – test the temperature
  • Install thermostatic mixing valves in all hot water outlets
  • Keep saucepans at the back of the stove, NOT near the front – turn handles to the back
  • Keep kettles, irons, hair straighteners or wires out of reach
  • Keep secure fire screens in front of open fires, heaters and radiators
  • Store matches and lighters out of reach
  • Store chemicals, cleaners and acids out of reach


  • Drink hot drinks while nursing/holding a baby or child
  • Put a baby or child into a bath or sink until the water has been tested
  • Warm baby bottles in the microwaves
  • Leave hair straighteners unattended
  • Allow children near BBQs or garden chemicals
  • Allow children near fireworks
  • Leave children unattended in the kitchen, bathroom or near fires and heaters

Prevention of hot drink burns is easy using simple SafeTea rules:

  • Keep hot drinks out of reach of young children
  • Never carry a hot drink while carrying a baby
  • Never pass a hot drink over the heads of young children
  • Ways to keep hot drinks away from children:
  • Place hot drinks at the back of the kitchen surface
  • Don’t place a hot drink on a table cloth or cloth that hangs down so that a small child can reach and pull it down
  • Make a safe place . . . a SafeTea zone for hot drinks . . . in your home where you and members of the family and visitors can keep hot drinks from young children
  • Avoid drinking hot drinks around small children
  • Always remind visitors to your home to ‘Keep hot drinks out of reach of the young children

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is pleased to be able to add its support to National Burn Awareness Day, which helps draw attention to the fact that prevention and good first aid are key to reducing the number of burns and scalds occurring in the UK every single day.

A burn injury is for life. This image outlines the numbers of children and adults scalded or burnt  in 2019

Consultant Plastic and Burns Surgeons, Miss Alexandra Murray and Professor Fadi Issa, who both work at Stoke Mandeville Burns Unit, are keen to help highlight the importance of being burns aware.

Miss Murray said: “It’s a great time of year to raise awareness of the potential for burns, as candles, bonfires and fireworks are often at the forefront of people minds. However, burns or scalds can happen at any time and correct, swift treatment can make a big difference“.

Professor Issa said: “While anyone can suffer a burn or scald, there are some themes we see quite regularly.

– In children the principal cause of burns is scalds from things like hot cups of tea or coffee, hot baths, and contact burns for example from touching hobs.

– In adults it is often flame or flash burns from people setting things on fire with accelerants, or kitchen accidents while cooking.

– In the older age group we see quite a few hot bath burns or contact burns from radiators, particularly in those with mobility issues.

“During the covid peak we saw quite a few burns resulting from steam inhalation accidents in virtually all age groups.”

If burnt you should:

  • Promptly cool the burn under cool running water for at least twenty minutes
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag
  • Do not use any creams/lotions/toothpaste
  • Seek medical advice and call 999 if necessary
  • Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned

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