Outpatient firefighter burn injuries: a 3-year review

J Burn Care Rehabil. 2005 Jul-Aug;26(4):348-51. doi: 10.1097/01.bcr.0000169898.48655.7f.


Previously, our Burn Center at the New-York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center reported a decline during a 10-year period in the number of firefighters requiring hospitalization for burn injuries, from 53 patients per year to 15 patients per year. Because the incidence of structural fires continued at a constant rate of 26,240 to 30,841 per year during this time, it was postulated that an improvement in protective gear accounted for the decrease in injuries. However, it also was possible that more firefighters were being treated on an outpatient basis. Therefore, our Burn Center's outpatient treatment of firefighter burn injuries was reviewed to determine the epidemiology of firefighter burn injuries. On the basis of this study, the overall incidence of burn injuries in firefighters has continued at a constant level. These findings, however, demonstrate that the extent of injury has decreased in this population and suggest that the protective gear used by firefighters has contributed to these findings. These injuries, although minor to moderate, preclude the use of personal protective equipment until the burns are completely healed and contribute to a delayed return to full-duty status. These findings are consistent with nationally reported findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Burn Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Burns / epidemiology*
  • Burns / therapy
  • Fires / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / therapy
  • Skin Transplantation / statistics & numerical data