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IAFF Burn Foundation Briefing - November 2013
Posted On: Jan 12, 2014

Wishing You and Yours A Healthy, Safe and Prosperous Holiday Season



From all of us to all of you, we wish peace, joy and love to you and your family!

The holiday season is the perfect time to show those around you how much you care. And as we reflect on the events and successes of the past year, we at the IAFF Charitable Foundation wish to express our appreciation to you for your continued support. We know that through your generosity and participation we can reach out to the brothers and sisters of the IAFF in so many different ways.


IAFF Burn Foundation News
Youth Fire Setter Update

Fire Fighters and Other Community Heroes
"Six-Year-Old Recovering From Bonfire Burns"
"Local Burn Survivor Helping Others Through West Penn Support Group"
"Burn Survivor Becomes Counseling Hero to Others"
"Teen Burn Survivor Takes Recovery in Stride"

Taking Action

"Well-Maintained Fire Sprinklers Are a Necessity"

Fire Prevention and Burn Awareness

"PA Insurance Dept. Offers Simple Tips to Prevent Home Fires"
"Portraying Burn Survivor Turned Julianne Hough Into a Worried Aunt"
"Experts Calm Fears Over Heaters' Seasonal 'Burn' Smell"
"Baltimore Fire Fighters Knocking on Doors and Offering Smoke Alarms"

Burn Treatment and Research

"Army Offers Tablet Software to Save Burn Patients"
"Quantity and Quality of Nocturnal Sleep Affect Morning Glucose Measurement in Acutely Burned Children"
"Admission Temperature and Survival in Patients Admitted to Burn Centers"
"Nonsurgical Scar Management of the Face: Does Early Versus Late Intervention Affect Outcome?"

Hazardous Products and Recalls

"One World Technologies Recalls Ryobi Battery Chargers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards"
"Gree Recalls 12 Brands of Dehumidifiers Due to Serious Fire and Burn Hazards"


IAFF Burn Foundation News

Over two dozen national experts in the fields of youth fire setters, law enforcement, and mental health gathered recently in conjunction with the IAFF Annual Instructor Development Course in Las Vegas Nevada. Organized by the IAFF Charitable Foundation along with the IAFF Division of Health, Safety, and Medicine under a DHS Fire Prevention and Safety Grant. This group continues to move forward with the development of a national database. This database will allow professionals to share information on root causes and contributing factors to youth fire setting. The database will not be a tracking system, but a tool that will allow practitioners to develop evidence-based strategies that will provide a much more focused approach to this issue.

In addition it will also serve as a resource for fire chiefs and administrators to use in evaluating the impact of youth fire setting on fire loss in their communities, allowing them to more efficiently allocate their resources. The project in its second phase has developed a common database dictionary and been recently pilot tested in five different areas of the country. Additional pilot testing is planned and will be continue to take place. A white paper is in its final stages of production and will be published shortly.

If you would like to assist in sending a young burn survivor to camp text BURN to 50555 to make a $10 donation today.


Fire Fighters and Other Community Heroes

Six-Year-Old Recovering From Bonfire Burns
Wilson Daily Times (11/05/13) Batts, Lisa Boykin

Six-year-old Tristan Worley of Wilson County, N.C., is recovering from injuries he sustained in October after he was burned by a can of glue that exploded during a bonfire. After the incident, Worley was taken to the hospital and then flown to the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill. Doctors told the boy's family from the beginning that the second-degree burns on his face should heal and leave little or no scarring, but the deep second-degree burns on his hands would require skin grafting. Many people in Wilson have been following Tristan's story thanks to a Facebook page a family friend set up. Tristan's classmates made cards, and his teachers at Rock Ridge Elementary School visited him in Chapel Hill. Tristan says one day he would like to tell his story and make sure other children know what to do in case they are burned like he was. And he will probably tell them the story of how he did not quite "stop, drop, and roll" to put out the fire. "It was more, 'stop, fall, and roll!'" Tristan said.

Local Burn Survivor Helping Others Through West Penn Support Group
Beaver County Times (10/27/13) Wagner, Jenny

Beaver, Pa., resident Dennis Gillin spent eight weeks in the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh when he was a child. Thirty-two years ago, at age nine, Gillin was playing with a friend when they accidentally set a doghouse on fire while they were both inside. Gillin suffered third-degree burns over about 30 percent of his body, and had to spend eight weeks at West Penn. He said he remembers the physical and emotional pain of that time, especially the loneliness. "I don't ever want anybody to be sitting there thinking that they're by themselves, that they've got nobody to talk to," Gillin said. Now a sales representative at Turret Steel Industries Inc., Gillin said that despite his injury, he did pretty much everything that everyone else his age did -- including sports -- though he still bears the physical and emotional scars of the burn. "I'm in pain every day that I wake up," said Gillin, who has completed more than 50 surgeries for his burn injuries. After visiting West Penn Burn Center more than 30 years after he was admitted there as a child, Gillin said he felt like he wanted to start giving back. "I felt like that was the third time in my life that I beat death," Gillin said. "I wanted to just do something. There's some reason I'm still here, for something." He got in touch with burn center Nurse Manager Esther Atwood and asked what he could do, and in 2012 the hospital sponsored Gillin's trip to attend the World Burn Congress -- an international conference sponsored by the burn support organization, The Phoenix Society. "I walked into the room -- there was 850 people in this room -- and it was the first time in my life that I can remember that I walked into a room and people didn't stand and look at me, because everybody else was just like me," Gillin said. "And that moment right there literally changed my life." Gillin and several other survivors at the conference were trained as volunteer support coordinators and now operate a Burn Concern chapter at West Penn, offering monthly meetings, events, and individual support for survivors and their loved ones.

Burn Survivor Becomes Counseling Hero to Others
Tampa Tribune (10/21/13) Morelli, Keith

Burn survivor Joe Versaggi is now a volunteer at the burn unit at Tampa General Hospital, where he was treated seven years ago for injuries after a plane crash. He works 30 to 40 hours a week at the hospital, talking to burn patients and telling his story. When he was a soldier in Vietnam his job was to evacuate the wounded from battlefields via helicopter. "Thirty-eight years after Vietnam," he says, "I got my ride and I didn't enjoy it." Being able to relate to fellow burn survivors can be the first step on the long road to emotional recovery, he says. He tells patients what to expect and serves as living proof that one can return to normal after a burn injury. He got his start as a volunteer after having a talk with a fellow burn survivor while they were both in physical therapy. Versaggi told the other survivor "how lucky we were and that we were going to get over this," and a therapist noticed that the other patient was clearly cheered by the talk. They asked Versaggi to come back and talk to other burn patients, and he said it made him feel so good he got certified to counsel patients and became the first member of the local Survivors Offering Assistance and Recovery, or SOAR program. "It's just talking to people, survivors and their caregivers," he says. "The real heroes up here are the nurses. They are dealing with all of this every day." One of the patients he has helped is Vinnie Bruno, a 60-year-old who was injured in a boat explosion. "Joe was there for me and my family from day one," he says. "He's like a hero to all of us. He's an inspiration not only to me, but to the whole community." Bruno now volunteers with Versaggi at the hospital.

Teen Burn Survivor Takes Recovery in Stride (10/16/2013) Michlewicz, Chris

Three years after 15-year-old Nate Sheets burned his arm in an ATV accident, the teenager is still as optimistic and adventurous as ever. His injury required five casts, two skin grafts, and many compression sleeves, but he was back on his ATV within five months of the incident. Sheets was treated by The Children's Hospital, which invited him to his first burn camp run by the Cheley organization. He also received a special invitation from South Metro Fire Rescue fire fighter Lee Maulsby to attend the International Burn Camp, run by the International Association of Fire Fighters. His injury is not slowing him down -- on a trip to a burn camp in Steamboat Springs, he broke the wrist of his already-injured arm while doing a snowboarding trick. "It was the last day of camp at least," he says. He is "a glass-half-full kind of guy," his mother says, with a high pain tolerance and an attraction to risky endeavors. He nearly ripped a finger off a hand with a homemade can crusher, and returned from a skate park with a split lip and a knot on his head. He laughs when his mother says his arm might jump off his body and run away. She says she is more scarred from his injury than he seems to be.

Taking Action

Well-Maintained Fire Sprinklers Are a Necessity
Poughkeepsie Journal (NY) (10/16/13) Hagan, Al

Today's building fires burn hotter, faster, and with more toxic fumes than 20 years ago due to the use of synthetic materials in construction and furniture, and sprinklers are vital to help save lives and reduce property damage, writes Al Hagan, New York Fire Department Captain and president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. He says one can think of these new petro chemical materials as frozen gasoline, and their increased use had made fire fighting much more dangerous than it already was. Sprinklers quickly and efficiently contain a fire so that occupants have more time to get out and less damage is caused to the structure, which can lower insurance premiums as well. And sprinklers can last decades -- Hagan recalls being on a call in the 1980s for a commercial building fire that was contained by sprinklers; after the fire was put out fire fighters discovered that the sprinkler head had been installed in 1916. This 70-year-old sprinkler saved the building, and Hagan says it is "baffling that fire sprinklers are not required in all buildings, by law." He says it is especially important to have sprinklers in college housing, where 162 students have died in fires since 2000. There is a movement to make this mandatory, and New York now has the Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act that requires colleges to supply students with documentation about fire safety and sprinkler systems. "Sprinklers will never replace professional fire fighters, but they can turn what would be a five alarm fire into a one alarm fire," Hagan says.

Fire Prevention and Burn Awareness

PA Insurance Dept. Offers Simple Tips to Prevent Home Fires (11/05/13)

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine has provided several tips on how to prevent home fires, which are the third-leading cause of fatal home injuries. These tips include ensuring heaters have at least three feet of clear space on all sides and installing new smoke alarms every 10 years.

Portraying Burn Survivor Turned Julianne Hough Into a Worried Aunt (11/01/13)

Actress Julianne Hough said that researching her role as a burn survivor in her latest movie turned her into a "worried aunt," and taught her how easily fires around the home break out. The star spent time with burn survivors while she was training for her role in "Paradise" -- and many of the people she sought out for advice were children left scarred by household accidents. She said most of the survivors she talked to were in accidents resulting from hot tea scalds or putting food in a deep fryer and having the oil spill. "I was calling all my sisters and my nieces and nephews saying, 'Make sure you put this away and that away. This is way more dangerous than you think,'" Hough said. "You take for granted that it could happen to anybody." She admits it was tough to see survivors whose skin and joints were so badly charred from burns. "I got to walk around with just the burn bandages on to see how people reacted and responded and they don't want to make eye contact and they get uncomfortable. A lot of these burn survivors said, 'I would rather someone say, hey what happened, rather than make me feel like I'm scary or I'm ugly.'" Hough said surviving a burn "completely changes who they are on the inside and nobody really knows that. People are so obsessed with the outside that they don't fully understand what's going on on the inside."

Experts Calm Fears Over Heaters' Seasonal 'Burn' Smell
WSFA-12 (AL) (10/25/13) Crawford, Diana

Experts say that while the burning smell that some people are noticing as they turn on their heaters is completely normal and nothing to worry about, there are some cases where it can spell trouble. "It smells like a fire but your smoke [alarm] is not going off," said Lucas Cagle of the Huntsville Fire Department in Huntsville, Ala. "It's just the smell of your heater kicking on for the first time in months. Almost all units will experience that when they first come on for the season because dust has accumulated on either the heating elements or the heat exchanger." Fire department personnel say that when cold weather arrives, they receive numerous calls from residents who fear their heaters are about to spark a blaze. The smell might happen instantly or it could take a few days, but experts say it should not last longer than 45 minutes. "Anything beyond that you might have it inspected to make sure you have not had any insulation from inside the duct work come loose," said Russell Hernandez of Joe East Heating and Air. Fortunately, such insulation is fire retardant and fire fighters say heating systems as a whole are not fire hazards. Another thing to be mindful of is gas heating systems. Experts say units over eight years old could be a carbon monoxide risk. These units should be inspected once a year.

Baltimore Fire Fighters Knocking on Doors and Offering Smoke Alarms
Baltimore Sun (10/20/13) Wells, Carrie

Baltimore fire fighters have been going door-to-door in city neighborhoods and handing out free smoke alarms. They credit this tactic with a decades-long decline in fire deaths. While 13 people have been killed in fires in Baltimore this year, up from 12 in 2012, fire deaths are still at an all-time low. The Baltimore fire department began handing out smoke alarms in the 1980s; 88 people were killed in fires in 1984. Fire fighters only began to knock on doors a few years ago, offering smoke alarms and fire safety inspections. Grants have supported the program, which has purchased more than 46,800 smoke alarms since 2009. Between mid-2011 and mid-2012, fire fighters visited almost 60,000 homes; they hope to increase this figure by at least 50 percent in the coming fiscal year.

Burn Treatment and Research

Army Offers Tablet Software to Save Burn Patients
Kit Up! (10/24/2013) Jordan, Bryant

A new rugged tablet computer with software dubbed "The Burn Navigator" is being used by the Army to help save people with burn injuries. Immediate action is vital in saving burn patients, and the tablet software helps medical or combat personnel determine quickly how much fluid a burn patient needs to make sure they are not overhydrated nor dehydrated. The patient is connected to the device to monitor the response to the fluid being received, and the software uses the data to predict the optimal fluid rate for the next hour. The software is loaded onto Panasonic Toughbook tablets, and a future version will use a Toughbook 2 to control an infusion pump that provides blood and fluids to patients. The tablet is now being used at the Army Burn Center at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. There has been a 34 percent relative decrease in patient mortality rate since its introduction.

Quantity and Quality of Nocturnal Sleep Affect Morning Glucose Measurement in Acutely Burned Children
Journal of Burn Care & Research (10/13) Vol. 34, No. 5, P. 483 Mayes, Theresa; Gottschlich, Michele M.; Khoury, Jane

The aim of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between sleep and glucose dynamics in acutely burned children. Two overnight polysomnography runs per subject were conducted in 40 patients with an average age of 9.4 years, 50.1 TBSA burn, and 43.2 full-thickness injury. Serum glucose was drawn in the morning immediately after the sleep test. Insulin requirements during the 24-hour period preceding the glucose measurement were recorded. The authors used generalized linear models to evaluate percent time in each stage of sleep, percent wake time, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, and morning serum glucose, accounting for insulin use, and found that increased time awake and reduced time spent in stage 1 sleep were associated with higher glucose levels. Sleep efficiency and total sleep time were inversely associated with glucose level. Morning glucose levels appear to be affected by the quality and quantity of overnight sleep in children who have sustained extensive burn injuries.

Admission Temperature and Survival in Patients Admitted to Burn Centers
Journal of Burn Care & Research (10/13) Vol. 34, No. 5, P. 498 Hostler, David; Weaver, Matthew D.; Ziembicki, Jenny A.

The authors of this study conducted an analysis of a statewide trauma registry to determine whether hypothermia occurring during burn resuscitation was associated with mortality when controlling for clinical confounders. Studying all patients at an accredited burn center from 2000 to 2011, the authors constructed a hierarchical, multivariable logistic regression model to examine the effect of hypothermia on survival, controlling for potentially confounding variables. Admission hypothermia was independently associated with mortality when adjusting for age, sex, total second- and third-degree burn surface area, co-morbid conditions, injury severity score, direct transport vs. referral, method of temperature measurement, year, and the hospital providing care. Increasing age, female sex, TBSA, presence of multiple co-morbid conditions, and increasing injury severity score were associated with mortality. There was a weak correlation between TBSA and admission temperature. Hypothermia at hospital admission is independently associated with mortality in burn patients when controlling for clinical confounders.

Nonsurgical Scar Management of the Face: Does Early Versus Late Intervention Affect Outcome?
Journal of Burn Care & Research (10/13) Vol. 34, No. 5, P. 569 Parry, Ingrid; Sen, Soman; Palmieri, Tina; et al.

Early implementation of noninvasive facial scar management techniques after a burn injury is a standard burn rehabilitation practice, and a new study provides the data to prove its effectiveness. The study examined the timing of common noninvasive techniques such as pressure therapy, silicone, massage, and facial exercises after facial skin grafting in 138 children to determine how the timing affected outcome over a 10-year period. The study found that earlier application of silicone, pressure therapy, and facial exercises were linked to lower Modified Vancouver Scar Scale vascularity scores. However, timing was not associated with any change in facial reconstructive outcome. Overall the study concluded that early noninvasive techniques can improve scar outcome and shorten the time needed to reach scar maturity.

Hazardous Products and Recalls

One World Technologies Recalls Ryobi Battery Chargers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards
PR Newswire (11/05/13)

One World Technologies is recalling its Ryobi P113 Dual Chemistry Battery Chargers, which have been found to malfunction, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers. There are about 578,000 such chargers in the United States and 49,000 in Canada. Battery chargers that are being recalled are green and gray and have "Ryobi" printed in white lettering on the front of the charger. The model number and date code are located on the data plate located on the bottom of the charger. One World Technologies has received 25 reports of the P113 charger overheating, leading to reports of property damage to the charger and its surroundings such as workbenches, countertops, and carpeting. Consumers are urged to immediately remove any battery from the charger, stop using the recalled charger, unplug it, and contact One World Technologies for a free replacement charger. The product was sold at Direct Tools Factory Outlet, The Home Depot, and other retail stores nationwide and online at from September 2007 to December 2009 individually and as part of a kit for between $30 and $270.

Gree Recalls 12 Brands of Dehumidifiers Due to Serious Fire and Burn Hazards
PR Newswire (10/30/13)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of twelve brands of dehumidifiers manufactured by Gree due to a burn hazard. The devices can overheat, smoke, and catch fire, and consumers are instructed to stop using the product and return it to the manufacturer for a refund. The recall affects about 2.2 million units in the United States and 52,500 in Canada, with brand names Danby, De'Longhi, Fedders, Fellini, Frigidaire, Gree, Kenmore, Norpole, Premiere, Seabreeze, SoleusAir, and SuperClima. The size of units include 20, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50, 65, and 70-pint dehumidifiers. Each unit has the model number and date code printed on a sticker on the unit, and the brand name and pint capacity are printed on the front. They were sold between January 2005 and August 2013 at stores including AAFES, HH Gregg, Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe's, Menards, Mills Fleet Farm, Sam's Club, Sears, and online at and

The inclusion of articles in the The Burn Briefing does not imply the IAFF or IAFF Foundation's endorsement of their content nor any particular organizations or programs highlighted in these articles. Articles are intended to increase awareness of media coverage of topics relevant to our community and are provided for informational purposes only.

Abstract News © Copyright 2013 INFORMATION, INC.
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