Every seventeen seconds someone will be burned. Some of these burns will be minor, caused by touching an iron or grill. The most common place for a burn injury to occur is in the home. Those most prone to burn injury are children, the elderly and the disabled. Occupations that present the highest risk for burn injury include electricians, and people who work in the chemical, petroleum and food services industry.

All burns should be treated seriously. It is important to remember the golden rule of burns management: If someone has a burn on their body the size of the palm of their own hand (1% TBSA), where blisters are present or suspected, this person should seek medical attention, either by going to a doctor or by referral to casualty. Extra care should always be taken where the face, hands, feet, groin, perineum, and major joints are concerned.

It is now widely recognized that early cooling of a burn, no matter its size, will keep the burn from progressing deeper into the skin. Cooling with Water-Jel puts out the fire. Putting out the fire stops the thermal insult. In short, early cooling fulfills the recommendations of the International Society for Burn Injuries and of the Australian and New Zealand Burns Association (ANZBA). The first principle of emergency burn care is to remove the source of the thermal injury and cool the burn.

There is still some reluctance in certain quarters to cooling a burn of any size. This harkens to the 1930s when burns were packed in ice or bathed continuously in ice water. This caused severe vaso constrictions and at best made the burn deeper and at worst caused amputation of the involved limbs or hypothermia. The resulting hypothermia caused cardiac arrhythmias that could result in cardiac arrest. The thought and teaching in this matter has lingered and adversely affects good burn care.