Thousands of people could need burn care following a nuclear detonation (which produces intense heat resulting in severe burns) or in a massive explosion. In addition to those catastrophic threats, between 2010 and 2014, emergency departments treated approximately 486,000 people for non-fatal burn injuries and in 2014 alone, fires took the lives of 3,275 people. Specialized treatment resources are limited, with only 127 burn centers nationwide; a mass casualty incident easily could overwhelm the nation’s burn care infrastructure.
Within HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) is supporting the development of novel products that could find use in routine clinical burn care and would also help in response to a mass casualty incident. We want to prevent the national burn care infrastructure from being overwhelmed and provide patients with better outcomes.