Your Online Burns Management Resource

BurnsFirst aims to deliver a free online course which will teach you how to correctly treat and care for burn injuries with First Aid skills and knowledge.

Quick Guide

Burn injuries are extremely painful and the risk of infection is high because the outer layer of skin is damaged. Although burns do not bleed, burn injuries result in fluid loss, loss of temperature control and can damage underlying layer of tissue and nerves.



Remove any clothing and jewellery from the affected area to allow effective cooling of the burn.



Cool the burn under cool running water for 20 minutes—this will stop the burning process and also help ease the pain.



Cover the burn with a clean lint free cloth or if it is a large area, cover loosely with cling wrap to lessen the chance of infection.



Seek medical advice if the burn is larger than a 20 cent piece or on the face, hands, feet or groin area.

Types of Burns

Burns are primarily caused by scalding from hot liquid or flames and contact with hot objects, but can also be caused by extreme cold, chemicals, electricity, or the sun and other forms of radiation. Even after the source of heat has been removed, further damage occurs because soft tissue retains heat for minutes afterwards.

Superficial burns

First Degree

These burns cause damage to the first or top layer of skin only. The burn area will be red and painful. E.g. sunburn.

Partial thickness burns

Second Degree

These burns cause damage to the first and second skin layers. The burn area will be red, peeling, blistered and swelling with clear or yellow-coloured fluid leaking from the skin.

Full thickness burns

Third Degree

This involves damage to both the first and second skin layers, plus the underlying tissue. The burn site generally appears black or charred with white exposed fatty tissue. The nerves are destroyed and the pain will not be as great in the full thickness.

Managing Burns

The management of burns can depend on the type and extent of the injury. While most minor burns can be treated at home using cool running water for 20 minutes, more serious burns may require medical treatment and medication. The main aim when managing a burn is to control pain, remove dead tissue, prevent infection and reduce scarring.

Causes of Burns

Burns can be caused by thermal friction (flame), ultraviolet (UV) radiation, hot liquids, electricity, and certain chemicals. All burns require immediate First Aid treatment. Some burns may result in urgent medical attention or skin graft surgery.


Therapeutic treatment, x-rays, welding equipment and radioactive materials, but the most common is sunburn.


Fire (flame), steam, hot objects or liquids in direct contact with the body.


Electrical energy from the mains or lighting can produce very serious burns.


Most common chemicals in the home cause burns. E.g. pool acid, caustic soda, dishwashing power.

Do Nots

  • Do Not
    apply lotions, ointments or oily dressings.

  • Do Not
    prick or break blisters.

  • Do Not
    give casualty alcohol.

  • Do Not
    over cool casualty.

  • Do Not
    use towels, cotton wool, blankets or adhesive dressings directly on burn.

  • Do Not
    remove clothing stuck to burnt area.

Complications from burns:

  • Shock caused by loss of blood or blood plasma
  • Infection (the deeper the burn, the higher the risk)
  • Breathing problems if face and/or throat is burnt or patient
  • Circulation restricted or cut off by swelling

Seek medical attention if:

  • The burn involves airway, hands, face, feet or genitals
  • The burn is deep, even if casualty does not feel any pain
  • The burn involves hands, face, feet or genitals
  • A superficial burn is bigger than a 20 cent piece
  • You are unsure of severity of burn

Be Prepared

Continue being First Aid ready in any burns emergency by booking your Accredited First Aid training or purchasing our Burns Module.


Julian Burton Burns Trust

The Julian Burton Burns Trust is Australia's leading non-profit organisation dedicated to burn injury.
Clipsal by Schneider Electric

A market leader in electrical accessories, data communications, industrial and home automation markets.