Burn Awareness

Burns can cause physical and emotional scars to both young and elderly victims and a potential hazard such as a boiling kettle or a saucepan full of hot fat can also cause lasting damage to a person.


Always remember, if your clothing catches fire - STOP, DROP and ROLL.

If your clothes catch fire, running around won't help.  You must always stop, drop to the ground (cover you face with your hands) and roll over and over.  Make sure you roll over a few times, to ensure that you put the fire out. 

This video explains how to stop, drop and roll:

First aid - following a burn or scald

Good first aid following a burn or scald can make an enormous difference in recovery times and the severity of scarring. Remember to COOL, CALL, COVER.

First aid advice from the British Burn Association:

  1. Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound).

  2. Call for help: 999, 111 or local GP for advice.

  3. Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm.

This video explains how to cool, call, cover:

When to go to hospital

Once you have taken these steps, you'll need to decide whether further medical treatment is necessary.

Go to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department for:

  • Large or deep burns bigger than the affected person's hand.

  • Burns of any size that cause white or charred skin. 

  • Burns on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals that cause blisters.

  • All chemical and electrical burns.

Also get medical help straight away if the person with the burn:

  • Has other injuries that need treating.

  • Is going into shock – signs include cold, clammy skin, sweating, rapid, shallow breathing, and weakness or dizziness.

  • Is pregnant.

  • Is over the age of 60.

  • Is under the age of five.

  • Has a medical condition, such as heart, lung or liver disease, or diabetes.

  • Has a weakened immune system (the body's defence system) – for example, because of HIV or AIDS, or because they're having chemotherapy for cancer.

If someone has breathed in smoke or fumes, they should also seek medical attention.

Some symptoms may be delayed, and can include:

  • Coughing.

  • A sore throat.

  • Difficulty breathing.

  • Singed nasal hair.

  • Facial burns.

See recovering from burns and scalds (opens in new window) for information on how serious burns are treated.

For more information - NHS website (opens in new window)

Safety tips to help avoid burn injuries

Prevention and good first aid are key to reducing the number of burns and scalds, especially in children and the elderly.


  • Install smoke alarms on each floor and test regularly.

  • Make and practice Fire Escape Plans with the whole family.

  • Run COLD water first in the bath or sink before adding hot water – test the temperature.

  • Install thermostatic mixing valves in all hot water outlets.

  • Keep saucepans at the back of the stove NOT near the front – turn handles to the back.

  • Keep electric kettles, irons, hair straighteners or wires out of reach.

  • Keep secure fire guard screens in front of open fires, heaters and radiators.

  • Store matches and lighters out of reach.

  • Store chemicals, cleaners and acids out of reach.


  • Drink hot drinks while nursing a baby or child.

  • Put a baby or child into a bath or sink until the water has been tested.

  • Leave hair straighteners unattended.

  • Leave electrical items charging on soft furnishings, beds etc.

  • Allow children near BBQs or garden chemicals.

  • Allow children near fireworks.

  • Leave children unattended in the kitchen or near fires and heaters.


In Cheshire in 2021, 314 burns injuries resulted in contact with a burns unit across Cheshire, of these: 

  • 97 were children aged between 0 and 4 years.

  • 28 were adults aged 65 or over.

  • 112 were admitted to a burn’s injury unit.

  • 121 were spill burn injuries, 39% of which were in children aged 0-4 years. 


Hot drinks are hot enough to scald for up to 30 minutes after being made

  • Always keep hot drinks out of reach of babies and young children.

  • Place hot drinks at the back of the kitchen surface.

  • Avoid drinking hot drinks around small children.

  • Always remind visitors to your home to ‘Keep hot drinks out of reach of the young children’.

  • Create a ‘Safe Space’ where no hot drinks are consumed or a ‘SafeTea Zone’ where you and members of the family and visitors can drink hot drinks away from young children.

  • Drink hot drinks while nursing/holding a baby or child.

  • Never pass a hot drink over the heads of young children and babies.

  • Do not place hot drinks on table cloths or material that hangs down so that  small child can reach and pull it.

For more information

Please use the following links to find out more about National Burn Awareness Day and the SafeTea campaign:

National Burn Awareness Day (opens in new window)

SafeTea (opens in new window)

Last updated: Monday, 29 January 2024