Across the US, firefighters risk injuries as they perform the profession or devotion he or she has chosen. While there are many potential hazards on the fire ground, the purpose of this course is to specifically educate all firefighters about burn injuries and how they can affect the fire service.A burn injury can affect a firefighter’s life in many ways. Without exception, burns are life altering. They can also be career changing or life ending injuries. Regardless of the level of PPE used, training completed or experience on the job, smoke and fire can overcome any firefighter and lead to a long and difficult battle for survival, which may not be won. Burn scarring can affect mobility, appearance, and functional use of the extremities. Inhalation of smoke, burning debris and toxic byproducts of combustion may seriously or permanently damage the abilities to breathe, function and perform job related duties.
The long-term effects of a burn are not just physical. Following a burn injury, firefighters are at risk of developing psychological trauma associated with the events of injury, a lack of confidence in their professional abilities, and stress related to the time away from the job. As a result of a burn, an injured firefighter must deal with the emotional, physical and financial challenges of recovery and a potentially career ending injury.
Advances in PPE, training and technology have afforded our firefighters a level of protection commensurate with the modern era in which we perform our profession. We must, however, not forget the lessons we have learned from those who have served before us; they most likely would utter the phrase, "It does not take a few minutes for the fire ground to change–it only takes a second!"