| Manage injuries | Wounds and blood loss | Management of specific wounds | Fractures and soft tissue injuries | Burns | Needle stick injuries | Bites and stings | Exposure to extreme temperatures |  

Apply first aid


Most burns occur on the surface of the skin. The skin consists of several layers, performing a protective function for internal organs. If the skin is damaged, there is the potential for infection and loss of body fluids which can ultimately lead to shock.

The severity of burns can be classified according to the depth of the skin damage. Click here for more detail.

Management of burns (general principles)

  1. DRABCD and call 000 or 112 (digital mobile).
  2. Cool with cool running water for approximately 20 minutes. Note: Over-cooling can lead to hypothermia and shock.
  3. Ensure that natural body creases (for example, neck, knees, groin areas) are also cooled.
  4. Remove jewellery or other constrictive items.
  5. Apply a clean and light non-stick dressing.
  6. Rest and elevate the affected part, if possible.
  7. Assess for and manage shock.
  8. Closely monitor signs of life, especially if the burn has affected the upper body, face or throat regions.
  9. Provide reassurance.

Caution — Managing burns:

Click here to see the management of different types of burns

Person alight (on fire)

If a person is on fire they may panic and run, causing the flames to spread more rapidly. Try to stop the person from running as soon as possible and extinguish the flames. ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ is the preferred first aid management for a person who is alight.

Management of a person who is alight

  1. Assess for danger and protect yourself from injury.
  2. STOP — the person from running or moving about.
  3. DROP — place the casualty on the ground.
  4. SMOTHER and ROLL — cover the casualty with a blanket and roll them on the ground to extinguish the flames.
  5. Use large amounts of water, if available, to extinguish flames.
  6. Assess signs of life.
  7. Manage burns as per general principles.
  8. Assess for and manage shock.
  9. Seek urgent medical advice.
  10. Provide reassurance.

Activity 3

Test your understanding of burns. Click here.