Section I. GENERAL
TREATING A CASUALTY WITH BURNS
When you first discover the burn casualty, stop the burning process if the
casualty is still being burned in order to protect both the casualty and yourself. Once
this has been done, continue to perform your evaluation of the casualty. Exactly when
the burn wound is treated depends on the seriousness of the burn injury and on other
injuries that the casualty may have suffered. A burned area on a fractured limb should
be dressed and bandaged before a splint is applied to the limb. Minor burns on a
casualty with a life-threatening injury may not be treated until the casualty reaches a
medical treatment facility.
TYPES OF BURNS
Burns can be classified by their cause. Burns can result from thermal (heat),
electrical, chemical, or radiant (laser) sources. Burns can also be classified by the
degree (depth) of the burn.
DETERMINING THE DEGREE OF BURN
Burns can be classified by the depth of the burn (the number of damaged tissue
layers). A burn can be a first-degree burn, a second-degree burn, or a third degree
burn. Different areas may be burned to a different degree. A third degree burn may
be surrounded by an area of second-degree burns that, in turn, may be surrounded by
a. Skin Layers. The skin consists of three primary layers, the epidermis, the
dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue (figure 6-1). Beneath the subcutaneous layer is
the fascia. The fascia covers the muscles that lie beneath the skin.
(1) Epidermis. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin. This layer
consists of dead cells that are constantly being rubbed off and replaced from beneath.
The epidermis contains no blood vessels or nerves, but does contain the pigments that
give the skin color.
(2) Dermis. The dermis (true skin) layer lies under the epidermis. The
dermis contains sweat glands, sebaceous (oil) glands, hair follicles, small blood
vessels (but not major blood vessels), and specialized nerve endings.