In a previous Emergency Medical Technician Training and EMT Refresher post, We discussed the care for a burn victim. All cities and EMS companies have a protocol that needs to be followed. Along with providing burn emergency medical assessment and care to a victim there are some general protocols that need to be known.
1. Reminder that positive pressure ventilation is 10-12 ventilations per minute for an adult. 12 - 20 ventilations per minute for a child or infant.
2. When managing specific burns the protocol for an EMT is as followed:
Dry Chemical burns
Remove affected clothing, brush off dry chemical, then irrigate with large amounts of water unless a chemical reaction happens with water when added to the chemical. A burn patient may be hesitant to remove the affected clothing. Reassure the patient and let them know why the clothing is being removed. Be sure to use a soft brittle brush and to not get the dry chemical into any possible scratches, cuts, and scrapes.
Burns to the hands and feet
Remove all rings and jewelry. Jewelry may have a chemical reaction to the dry chemical which would cause further injury to the victim. Dry chemical powder may have also become trapped in the jewelry. An Emergency medical technician running water over the jewelry would just be adding more chemicals to the patients body. Dress between the the fingers and toes of the patient.
Chemical burns to the eyes
Flush the eyes with large amounts of water and continue to do so while in route to the next medical facility.
Thermal burns to the eyes
Do not attempt to open the eyelids; an EMT should dress the eyes with dry, sterile dressing to both eyes. Why should it be dry dressing? Cold wet dressing to the eyes may cause shock to the body. Liquid from the dressing may drip into the eye and cause the patient more bodily damage.
Electrical burns to the body
The patients body has just received a high dosage of electricity to their organs. This could cause the respiration and heart to malfunction. An Emergency Medical Technician should monitor for changes in the pulse and respiration. Inspect for wounds caused by the electrical burn. Assess for muscle tenderness and apply AED if patient is in cardiac arrest.
Reassessment of the patient is important. Mental status, pulse, blood pressure, and respiration can change in an instant. An EMT should perform an assessment every 5 minutes if the patient is unstable. Perform an assessment every 15 minutes if the patients mental status is stable.