Burn injury is a huge burden on Australia's overall health care system with the acute care costs of a life threatening burn injury potentially amounting to $1 million. There are over 20,000 burn injury related hospital admissions each year and burn injury is one of the top three causes of accidental death in children under five years of age.
According to the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ) Annual Report 2013/14, 96% of all burn injuries are preventable. Given this statistic, the Burns Trust is committed to reducing the incidence and impact of burn injury through burns prevention and first aid education programs and community awareness initiatives targeted at high risk demographics. Our prevention strategy is focused around National Community Awareness, the BurnSafe Schools Program and Aboriginal Burns Program.
National Community Awareness Campaigns
This year we reached a record 90,000 people through National Community Awareness initiatives. A new awareness campaign centred around the distribution of 42,000 of our 'Keeping Young Children Safe' pamphlets through Raising Literacy Australia's 'Little Big Book Club' reading packs. Made available through libraries and children and families health services in SA in 2015, this initiative targets the parents and/or care-givers of the 0-2 year old high risk demographic.
Attendance at the National Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expos also continued to be an ideal platform for educating parents, carers and grandparents of young children and at the same time raise awareness about burn injury prevention and first aid education. Children aged 0-5 years old represent over 74% of total hospital admissions for paediatric burn injuries and the 1-2 year old age group has the highest incidence of burn injuries, representing 34% of all paediatric cases. This year along with our wonderful burn survivor and corporate volunteers we attended PBC Expos in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney and at the same time reached over 12,000 people associated with this high risk group.
BurnSafe Schools Program (SA)
The BurnSafe Schools Program continues to grow with a record 12,919 students educated through this program in SA in 2014/15. This burns prevention and first aid education program encourages students to be more aware of the incidence and impact of burn injury, its major causes and how they can reduce the risk of suffering a burn injury. In July 2014, The Advertiser published an article about how the BurnSafe program had changed the outcome for a grandmother whose twin grandsons had recently attended the program, reducing the severity of her burn and ultimately the length of her hospital stay. The BurnSafe Schools Program is proudly supported by the Government of South Australia, Fay Fuller Foundation and AGL Energy.
Our Community Education Manager, Bethany Farley also spoke to an international audience about the positive impacts and results of the BurnSafe Schools Program at the October 2014 International Society of Burn Injury conference in Sydney. Her presentation "Primary burns prevention and first aid education - does it work?' also demonstrated the flexibility of the program for delivery nationally and internationally.
Funding from Cops for Kids enabled the development of the BurnSafe Junior Program curriculum for early learning centres and kindergartens. This program aims to adapt the BurnSafe Schools Program for the high-risk demographic of 0-5 year olds with the aim to pilot the program in SA in October 2015.
2014/15 saw the exciting launch of the CoolSwipe Burns Trust app. The app was designed as a fun, interactive educational game, challenging children to top their previous best score whilst identifying potential burn hazards in the kitchen, lounge room and garage as well as providing burns first aid education. The app can be downloaded via the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store with over 1,100 downloads in 7 days from date of launch. There were two official launches. The first at Woodville Primary School with the MFS and Government of SA, followed by a launch attended by Minister Piccolo at Gawler Primary School. The launches attracted much interest with Channel 2, 7, 9 and 10 reporting on it during the evening news with an estimated audience of 151,000 viewers, radio interviews across South Australia and an article in The Australian with an estimated readership of 104,000.
Due to changing physicalities and physiological abilities, older Australians (over 60's age group) continue to be in a high risk burns category. Through our communications strategy, attendance at community events and RAA Years Ahead: Lifestyle Program we continued to educate older Australians about the increased risk of burn injury through our 'Changing Bodies, Changing Needs' video and pamphlet and distribution of our first aid fridge magnet.
Aboriginal Burns Program
Aboriginal people represent 1.9% of the total population yet are over represented in terms of serious burn injury hospital admission statistics to burns units across Australia. Additionally, Aboriginal people living in remote communities are 25% more likely to suffer a serious burn injury than those living in metropolitan areas. Our Aboriginal Burns Program aims to reduce the incidence and impact of burn injury to Indigenous communities.
In 2014/15 we worked in collaboration with the Royal Adelaide Hospital and their Aboriginal Burns Program Manager to highlight the dangers of burn injury and the critical importance of correct burns first aid to the Indigenous Community through targeted community events.
In May 2015, the Burns Unit of Competencies for Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW) was held in Adelaide with the aim to educate AHW with burns prevention and first aid knowledge to take back to their communities in both metropolitan and regional areas. This collaborative program includes input from the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Women's & Children's Hospital, the Metropolitan Fire Service, Country Fire Service and the Burns Trust.