Violence and Injury Prevention

Burn Prevention: Sucess Stories, Lessons Learned

Bruce Sutherland

Burns are a major global public health problem. Fire-related burns alone account for more than 195 000 deaths per year, with more deaths resulting from scalds, electrical, chemical and other types of burn. Greater application of burn prevention strategies globally would go a long way towards lowering the unacceptable burden of death and suffering from burns. The goal of this WHO publication is to disseminate information on burn prevention strategies that have been successful, as well as those for which there is preliminary evidence suggesting their effectiveness, especially in developing countries.

Burn prevention: success stories, lessons learned includes examples of successful burn prevention strategies from around the world, and from a wide spectrum of economic situations. Approaches that have been shown to lower burn rates include smoke alarms, lowering hot water heater temperatures, regulating the flammability of clothing (especially children’s sleepwear), designing and distributing safe cooking stoves and lamps. The publication also covers advances in care which can reduce mortality, disability and suffering among those who are burned.

This publication focuses on practical, affordable, and sustainable solutions and provides useful “how to do” methods. It also seeks to dispel the belief that little can be done to prevent burns. By so doing, and by providing lessons learned about on-the-ground methods for promoting burn prevention, this publication also seeks to catalyze increased burn prevention activities globally.

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