District 8 Senior Station Officer Andrew Smith travelled to Las Vegas in April to the 51st American Burn Association Conference, joining more than 2000 medical and health professionals, doctors, firefighters, and leaders in burn care and prevention.
The conference is held every year in the USA to promote and support burn-related research, education, care, rehabilitation, and prevention.
This year’s conference was opened by the current Las Vegas Clark County Fire Chief, Greg Cassell who had the foresight to cross-train firefighters and paramedics with police prior to the Las Vegas shooting incident in 2017.
This year Andrew had the pleasure of meeting with former Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Wood AM, who was presenting at the conference.
“Meeting Professor Wood and hearing her speak was so inspirational – she is truly worthy of her 2005 Australian of the Year Award,” Andrew said.
“Professor Wood’s work regarding burn care is world renowned and her philosophy of striving for gold, then asking why can’t it be higher, shows her dedication and commitment. It’s something we should all take on board.”
Burn injuries are some of the most costly injuries seen in the community.
More than 5000 Victorians are treated for burn injuries each year, of which approximately 400 are transferred to our two major burn units: the Alfred Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital.
“In the last two weeks of April 2019 CFA attended fires where 14 people suffered burn injuries and required treatment – some needed to be transferred to one of our major burn units for more specialised treatment,” Andrew said.
“With Winter around the corner people need to be even more vigilant and should not use fuel to start fires, always check gas cylinder connections for leaks and be careful when cooking in the kitchen.”
Andrew is a current member and former chairperson of the Victorian Burns Prevention Partnership, which involves fire service representatives and medical staff.
After attending the 2018 conference in Chicago, Andrew was invited to be part of the ABA Burn Prevention Committee. This is a huge honour being the only international representative on the committee and putting CFA in the forefront of burn injury prevention.