Severe Burn FAQs

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Q. What is a severe burn?

In the Victorian State Trauma System, severe burns are injuries >20%TBSA, high voltage electrical injuries (>1000volts) and inhalation injury

Q. I’m not sure that this case is a severe burn, what should i do?

You should still contact Adult Retrieval Victoria on 1800 368 661. Use ISBAR to ensure a comprehensive assessment of the current situation and ARV will be able to assist.

Q. What sort of wound care should be performed?

Wound care for severe burns should be rapid and transfer should not be delayed by performing meticulous dressings which will be removed on arrival to the Trauma Centre. First aid (20 mins H20) should be performed first, the wounds can then be wrapped in Cling Film (longitudinally) and the patient should be covered as soon as possible to minimise heat loss. Blisters can be managed at the Burn Service if transfer time is <6hours. If the transfer is to be delayed >6 hours, consideration should be given regarding a more appropriate therapeutic dressing, this can be discussed with the Burn Service.

For circumferential burns, elevate the affected area/s if clinically appropriate. This will help to reduce swelling and its deleterious effects on distal circulation and/or breathing.

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