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Burn injury protocols

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Wildland Firefighter Protocols

Based on the Burn injury protocols for treatment and transportation of wildland firefighters who sustain burn injuries during wildland fire operations, issued by the Department of Interior on 9/12/2007. (Used with permission)  

It is imperative that action is taken quickly, as burn injuries are often difficult to evaluate and may take 72 hours to manifest themselves. When there is any doubt as to the severity of the injury, immediately refer and transport the employee to a regional burn center. 

The following procedures will be used when Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees sustain burn injuries, regardless of agency jurisdiction. These procedures will also apply to federal employees, casuals, and other personnel covered by the Federal Employee's Compensation Act who are burned during a wildland fire operation within BLM jurisdiction. 

After on-site medical response, initial medical stabilization, and evaluation are completed, District/Field Managers will coordinate with the attending physician to ensure that an employee whose injuries meet any of the following burn injury criteria (identified by the American Burn Association as warranting immediate referral to an accredited burn center) is immediately referred to the nearest regional burn center. See a list of possible burn care facilities

The decision to refer the employee to a regional burn center will be made directly by the attending physician or may be requested of the physician by the Agency Administrator. 

Burn injury criteria

  • Partial thickness burns (second degree) involving greater than 5 percent Total Body Surface Area (TBSA).  
  • Burns involving the face, hands, feet, genitalia, perineum or major joints. 
  • Third-degree burns of any size are present. 
  • Electrical burns, including lightning injury are present. 
  • Inhalation injury is suspected. 
  • Burns are accompanied by traumatic injury (such as fractures). 
  • Individuals are unable to immediately return to full duty. 


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