A burn can be caused by dry heat such as contact with fire, or a hot iron, or exposure to the sun. A scald can be caused by contact with wet heat, like steam or a hot cup of tea. The longer the burning goes on the more severe the injury. Your priority is to cool the burn as quickly as possible. 

What to look for

  • red skin and swelling 
  • pain in the area of the burn 
  • blistering may start to appear


What to do

Follow the steps below:

Step 1 

Don't touch the burned area.

Step 2 

Don't remove any clothing stuck to the burn unless contaminated with chemicals.

Step 3 

Leave any blisters intact.

Step 4 

Hold the burn under cool or lukewarm running water for a minimum of 20 minutes, or until the pain eases.

Step 5 

Remove any jewellery or other constrictions while cooling.

Step 6

Cover lengthways with a clean plastic bag, kitchen film, or a sterile dressing. 

Step 7

Dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance if they have:

  • full thickness burns of any size
  • partial thickness burns larger than 1% (an area the size of the casualty’s palm and fingers)
  • superficial burns larger than 5% of the body surface
  • burns on the hands, face, feet, or genitals
  • burns with a mixed pattern and/or depth or that extends all around the limb

Train with us

Learn more first aid with us on one of our training courses.