1. Home
  2. First Aid
  3. Bitumen

Complete thermal burn first aid (20 minutes of cool running H2o)

  • This will cool the bitumen, reduce the intensity of the burn and dissipate retained heat of the bitumen.
  • Be mindful of inducing possible hypothermia with this treatment in cases of more extensive injuries.
  • DO NOT overcool.
  • Eye burns should also be flushed with water and do not attempt to remove bitumen

Cool the bitumen with 20 minutes of water and remove only non-adhered bitumen before transport
© Copyright 2024 Terms of Use

Bitumen Removal
  • Do NOT remove Bitumen if it is adherent to the skin.
  • In cases of extensive injury, and when there is compromise or potential compromise to the patient’s airway or circulation, rapid removal, or release via incision through the bitumen may be required. These patients should be transferred to an appropriate medical facility urgently.


Clothing & Jewelry removal
  • Remove belts, rings and any other constrictions, provided doing so does not cause further
  • DO NOT remove clothing that is stuck to the bitumen — this may cause further injury.


Keep Warm
  • Once cooling is complete, keep the patient warm to avoid hypothermia.


  • Organize transport to an appropriate medical facility, where the bitumen can be removed by an
    appropriately trained medical practitioner.

The Alfred Hospital gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support and contribution of Skilled Medical in funding this project.  For more information on Skilled Medical, please visit
Supported by:

Ambulance Victoria The Alfred Victorian Adult Burn Services at The Alfred The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne