Recommendations for burns care in mass casualty incidents

Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries

Recommendations for burns care in mass casualty incidents: WHO Emergency Medical Teams Technical Working Group on Burns (WHO TWGB) 2017-2020, A. Hughes, et al.

Health and logistical needs in emergencies have been well recognised. The last 7 years has witnessed improved professionalisation and standardisation of care for disaster affected communities led in part by the World Health Organisation Emergency Medical Team (EMT) initiative.

Mass casualty incidents (MCIs) resulting in burn injuries present unique challenges. Burn management benefits from specialist skills, expert knowledge, and timely availability of specialist resources. With burn MCIs occurring globally, and wide variance in existing burn care capacity, the need to strengthen burn care capability is evident. Although some high-income countries have well-established disaster management plans, including burn specific plans, many do not the majority of countries where burn mass casualty events occur are without such established plans.

Developing globally relevant recommendations is a first step in addressing this deficit and increasing preparedness to deal with such disasters. Global burn experts were invited to a succession of Technical Working Group on burns (TWGB) meetings to:

1) review literature on burn care in MCIs; and
2) define and agree on recommendations for burn care in MCIs.

The resulting 22 recommendations provide a framework to guide national and international specialist burn teams and health facilities to support delivery of safe care and improved outcomes to burn patients in MCIs.