30 Years of burn disasters within the UK: Guidance for UK emergency preparedness

C. W.M. Horner, E. Crighton, P. Dziewulski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Aim: To review casualty profiles of major UK burn disasters over the last 30 years in order to provide guidance to aid burn and emergency service planning and provision so as to improve emergency preparedness for future national disasters. Methods: A review of published literature was undertaken for disasters within the UK that had occurred between 1980 and 2009. Those producing 10 or more casualties with at least one sustaining cutaneous burns injuries were included. Frequency and extent of burns were recorded and analysed. Results: In total 37 disasters were included in this study, their frequency of occurrence falling over the 30 years reviewed. Burns tended to make up a small proportion of all casualties and were often relatively small in size with only 3 disasters having more than 5 patients with >10% burns. Discussion: This paper can help guide appropriate staffing and bed capacity planning for regional burns units and provide realistic figures to guide scenarios for national emergency training exercises. Due to the infrequent nature of major disasters, Critical Care, Trauma Care and Burn Care Networks will all need to be closely integrated and their implementation rehearsed so as to ensure optimal response to a major national disaster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-584
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Burns
  • Disaster planning
  • Disasters
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Great Britain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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