Fire Safety and Burn Symposium

Burn symposium

On November 1, MUSC held a Fire Safety and Burn Injury Symposium for local fire fighters to learn about the importance of a regional burn center to both the citizens of South Carolina and fire fighters who serve to protect them.

More than 35 fire fighters from the Midlands, Low Country, and Horry County attended the symposium where they learned from industry leaders about fire safety and the significance of a burn center, helping raise awareness of their new roles as community partners with a regional burn center. Steven Kahn, M.D., Chief of Burn Surgery organized the symposium.

Kahn has been a medical advisor for the International Association of Fire Fighters for several years and was recently appointed as a Medical Advisor for the South Carolina Professional Firefighters Association. He is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts regarding firefighter burn injury and has received several awards for his contributions to the field.

Patients with complex burn injuries treated at a burn center experience better outcomes. This is particularly important for fire fighters who return to work in a high-heat environment. Medical, surgical, and return-to-work decision-making is very important in this patient population - as is screening for and treating post-traumatic stress disorder. The symposium also included topics on resources for firefighters and burn survivors and the specialized care and resources found at a burn center.

“Our goal is to provide the highest level of care here in South Carolina so fire fighters and other citizens do not have to go far away from home if they are injured,” said Kahn. “In addition to providing some education on fire fighter safety, burn injury and smoke inhalation, the the program provided advanced education pertaining to protective gear.

”Katie Hallowed, RN, MSN, recognized as one of the most highly regarded and well-known burn nurses in the country, was an invited speaker.

Hallowed joins MUSC as Burn Program Manager on December 9. She is the recipient of the 2019 Curtis P. Artz Distinguished Service Award, given annually to a non-physician member of the American Burn Association for outstanding contributions in the burn field. Curtis P. Artz, M.D., an internationally renowned burn surgeon, was chair of the MUSC Department of Surgery from 1965 - 1977. 

To build on the momentum created by the symposium, Kahn said there will be talks and education at individual fire departments across the state along with collaborative community fire-safety efforts