Burns in mobile home fires—descriptive study at a regional burn center

Robert F Mullins, Badrul Alarm, Mohammad Anwarul Huq Mian, Jancie M Samples, Bruce C Friedman, Joseph R Shaver, Claus Brandigi, Zaheed Hassan
Journal of Burn Care & Research: Official Publication of the American Burn Association 2009, 30 (4): 694-9
Death from fires and burns are the sixth most common cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. More than (3/4) of burn deaths occurring in the United States are in the home. Mobile home fires carry twice the death rate as other dwellings. The aim of the study was to describe the characteristics of deaths and injuries in mobile home fire admitted in a regional Burn Center and to identify possible risk factors. A cross-sectional retrospective study was carried out among all burn patients admitted to a regional Burn Center between January 2002 and December 2004 (3469 patients). The study included patients who suffered a burn injury from a mobile home fire. The demographic characteristics of the patients, location of mobile home, associated inhalation injury, source of fire, comorbidity of the victims, employment status, insurance status, family history of burns, and outcomes of the treatment were incorporated in a data collection record. There were 65 burn patients in mobile home fires admitted to the Burn Center during the studied period. The average age of the patients was 39 years (ranging from 2 to 81 years, SD=16.06), 77% were male, 67% were white, and 79% were the residents in the suburban areas of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida. The average TBSA of burns was about 21% (ranging from 1 to 63%, SD=17.66), 63% of the patients had associated inhalation, three inhalation injury only, and 69% patients required ventilator support. The average length of stay per TBSA percentage of burn was 1.01 days (P=0.00), controlling for age, preexisting medical comorbidities, and inhalation injury. About 88% of the patients had preexisting medical comorbid conditions, 74% were smokers, 64% reported as alcoholic, and 72% had at least some form of health insurance coverage. In 40% of the cases, the cause of the fire was unknown, 31% were caused by accidental explosions, such as electric, gasoline, or kerosene appliances, and 29% were due to other causes. About 40% of burns took place between December and February. Among the studied cohorts, 32% were unemployed, 15% were disabled, and 14% did not have any information about their employment status. One in every four patients had a family history of a burn. Eight (12%) died in the hospital during treatment. There was a higher prevalence of inhalation injury and higher case fatality among the burn patients in mobile home fires compared with the statistics of the Burn Center. Observation showed a higher number of smokers and alcoholics among the burn patients. The main sources of fire were from home appliances. Fewer people had health insurance coverage than the national standard and more people suffered from some sort of chronic illness compared with the national morbidity data.

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