View Full Version : Burn Kits

Nicholas Studer
01-02-2015, 07:44 PM
The Rhinecliff FD Rescue Squad's 1963 Chrysler-Pinner ambulance was reported to carry a burn kit when placed into service. What kind of kit might have it carried? If not a "homebrew" setup of some kind, the most likely option at the time was an MSA Foille Burn Kit. These were also used by the Air Force in its historical penchant for ordering civilian kits rather than using standard military stuff. Foille is an analgesic (benzocaine) and antiseptic (chloroxylenol) spray or ointment. Many first aid kits, particularly MSA's, had a box of Foille ointment with contemporary guidance to apply ointments to acute burns. This is of course no longer the case today, where most folks are using special hydrogel dressings or just plain ole' gauze or paper "burn sheets." Foille ointment tubes are still made by Blistex, but the Foille spray was discontinued a few years back and I can't find any anywhere...

I searched high and low and was able to get an empty box in near mint condition. It was listed on etsy - an antique and homemade gifts website - for use as a spice rack. The seller had purchased it for resale there from a local antique shop. Sadly enough - in such good condition, I am sure the original contents were present until VERY recently. You can see the kit with some great lettering on the case, and the internal contents label. I'm working on restocking it now. The "sterilized muslin sheet" and Foille cans as mentioned are proving elusive. I ordered some generic "Burn Spray" but they were too narrow to fill the gap and yet 1/4" too tall! It's a pretty comprehensive setup, including eye care. Very well thought out for the standard of care at the time.

Those familiar with the Emergency! may recall the use of yellow foam Burn Pac dressings and blankets around Season 4 or so. These are still made today by Life Support Products, visible at http://www.alliedhpi.com/images/z90-00-0019.pdf . Unfortunately the namesake "Burn Pac" blankets with poles as used by Johnny and Roy are no longer made. In addition to the dressings and blanket/poles, they contained a protective bag to carry two glass bottles of irrigation fluid within to soak the dressings for pain control. Sadly enough - I was lucky enough to purchase a beautiful, complete vintage kit not too long ago only to receive a refund a few days later because someone "threw it away" during a recent move. Photos of that kit prior to its untimely demise are below.

Anyone have any other photos or insight into burn care setups? I'm particularly interested in anything locally assembled. Also - if anyone has Foille spray, an MSA burn blanket, or Burn Pac dressings around - let me know! :)

John ED Renstrom
01-02-2015, 10:20 PM
Good stuff. But for us the burn kit was like the Ob kit a cardboard box with a stealer paper sheet.

Steve Tarbert
01-03-2015, 11:32 AM
Back in the 60s + 70s, our burn "kits" consisted of sterile sheets and pillow cases that were sterilized and wrapped by our local hospitals. This was before sterile saline and water was available in plastic bottles or bags for field use.

Wayne Krakowski
01-03-2015, 01:02 PM
Just as Steve had stated, sheets wrapped in a bundle by our local hospital, once draped in the sterile sheet ,water or saline if available could be applied,due to all the complications that could and would occur getting them to the hospital as fast as possible was the main goal,

Nicholas Studer
01-04-2015, 01:11 AM
Just curious gentlemen - was it a just one sheet wrapped in a brown kraft-type paper wrapper or was it a cloth wrapper? An old clinic I had to clean up and revamp had a few surgical towels wrapped and sterilized in that fashion. Didn't think much of it at the time. There's actually a push to go back to reusable cloth wrappers for sterilizing OR packs and such as it's more "green" and economical than disposable ones.

Wayne Krakowski
01-04-2015, 07:50 AM
Ours were heavy cloth wrappers in a clear plastic bag,with the date on it on masking tape with magic marker, other hospitals just the heavy cloth but also with masking tape and the date on it.(had been autoclaved)

John ED Renstrom
01-04-2015, 11:40 AM
The one I remember was paper in a plastic bag. But that was in the 80s. Just like the mother earth crowd to not fallow threw with there thinking. By the time you grow the material manufacture the goods disrepute them launder them sterilize them in a repeat process you wasted more carbon base fuel the making one time single use and tossing it into you biomass furnace to heat the facility.

Nicholas Studer
01-04-2015, 04:13 PM
Wayne - Cool! That's something I can put together myself - I have a bunch of the older cloth sterilization wrappers in various sizes, sheets aren't that hard to find, and I can get them autoclaved. Did the wrappers look like the below pictured photo?

John - Indeed, the disposable ones you describe from the 1980s are still in use today. The Roehampton folks even make them in cloth if you so desire to be "old school." Bunch of manufacturers, paper/plastic wrappers. Honestly - the paper ones tended to disintegrate over time/heat/abrasion sitting in the trauma bags. Thankfully not a lot of big burns too often.

Wayne Krakowski
01-04-2015, 06:21 PM
That's how some looked, others looked like a bundle of laundry for the cleaning lady.

Nicholas Studer
01-04-2015, 11:48 PM
Wayne - Just to be clear for the sake of posterity and oddballs like me who read forum archives. What you'r seeing is actually a new, opened package of small sterilization wrappers intended for a few instruments. The brown paper's how they came wrapped from the blind folks workshop. My poorly articulated point was just to present the material and color of what the old-school sterilization wrappers. Central Sterile folks in hospitals today generally have never seen them.

Interesting though that some folks didn't fold them up nice before wrapping and placing in the autoclave. It's Sterilization 101...

Steve Tarbert
01-05-2015, 12:55 PM
The hospital that did ours usually sterilized a bunch of pillow cases at the same time then wrapped the other sterile sheets and pillow cases in them, secured them with masking tape and dated them. I forget how long they were good for.

Scott A. Anderson
01-05-2015, 01:52 PM
The hospital that did ours usually sterilized a bunch of pillow cases at the same time then wrapped the other sterile sheets and pillow cases in them, secured them with masking tape and dated them. I forget how long they were good for.

That's what our hospital did, as well. Depending on who ordered, it usually contained a sheet, but sometimes there were sterile towels and sterile bath blankets. Date written on the autoclave tape. Usually one bundle to an ambulance. Did not generally stock them as we were a hosptial run ambulance service so you just called central supply and they made them up.

Usually had a couple of 1000 cc bottles of irrigation saline to go with these. More often than not, we just used the saline and never got around to wrapping someone up in a sheet. In a pinch, you could also squeeze out a liter bag of Ringers to cool a burn.

None of this was organized in a burn kit. The bundle with the sterile sheets was in a compartment or under the bench seat. Saline irriagation bottles just in a compartment.

Steve Tarbert
01-06-2015, 11:21 AM
We kept ours in the overhead linen compartment. Out of the way, but yet handy.

Nicholas Studer
05-12-2015, 11:33 PM
Foille burn kit pictured in the Fire Ambulance Patrol Auto (FAPA) Advertisement from the Christopher Co in 1954.

Unfortunately - photo found on Google Images from an old eBay auction that is no longer present... Anyone got guesses on the other gear? Looks like left to right MSA Air Mask, MSA Chemox Oxygen Breathing Apparatus, and an MSA Pneolator resuscitator.