Firefighters in Glasgow welcomed families from the Scottish Burned Children’s Club as the charity held its annual general meeting at the city centre’s Cowcaddens Community Fire Station.
Launched in 2001, the club helps children up to the age of eighteen who have sustained burns and scald injuries.
The commanding officer of Cowcaddens, Station Manager Eddie Finnieston, has been involved with the charity for a number of years and welcomed the families to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) facility.
He said: “Burns are among the most horrific and painful injuries anyone can experience. As well as the physical injury they also inflict deep psychological trauma on the person affected and their families.
“Both the physical and emotional scars can last a lifetime and the charity provides vital support to help people overcome truly terrible experiences.
“As firefighters we are very aware of how devastating fire can be and our partnership with the Scottish Burned Children’s Club is something we are very proud of.
“The children and families are truly inspirational and it was a genuine pleasure to welcome them to Cowcaddens.”
The charity’s secretary is Amy McCabe, a dental technician whose son Ben was severely injured in November 2011 when a stray firework set fire to his clothes.
Aged only four years old at the time, Ben suffered full thickness burns to his chest and neck and underwent surgery four times in 10 days to take skin from his leg and graft it to the affected areas.
The emotional trauma that accompanies burns is something Ben and his family know all too well, with the Scottish Burned Children’s Club helping people come to terms with what has happened and move on with their lives.
Amy said: “Children who have been burned grow up knowing their body image is different, which can often knock their confidence.
“Physical scars act as a constant reminder of the trauma they have been through but positive support helps them realise that their hopes and dreams are still the same as any other child and they are just as achievable.
“The Scottish Burned Children’s Club works to help the rehabilitation process for both the children and their families.
“It also aims to play a key role in reducing the number of these injuries by raising awareness of dangers that can lead to burns and scalds.”
To help those affected by burns and scalds the charity organises day trips and events, allowing youngsters to meet up with others who have similar experiences.
Forming friendships with their fellow burns survivors helps equip the families to overcome their injuries, face challenges and – importantly – have fun, with an annual summer camp being the highlight of its social calendar.
As well as bringing survivors together the club has on-going campaigns to raise awareness of common dangers to children, including the risk of scalds from hot water, the use of hair straighteners and fireworks.
The Scottish Burned Children’s Club is run and organised by volunteers and funded by events, sponsorship and donations. Further information on the charity and its work is available online at http://theburnsclub.org.uk/.
Station Manager Finnieston added: “We need everyone to recognise risks within the home and take the steps needed to protect themselves and those around them.
“Items like hair straighteners reach very high temperatures and, even after they have been switched off, they can easily inflict severe burns or start a fire that could see someone killed.
“Anyone using them should always take great care and make sure they are immediately switched off and unplugged after use, placed out of the reach of children on heat resistant bags away from items that could catch fire.
“Electrical appliances are one of the most common causes of fires within the home and being aware of risks is key to preventing injuries and worse.
“Sockets should never be overloaded and people should unplug anything that isn’t designed to be left on – especially when they’re going to bed or leaving the house.
“The fact is fire can happen to any of us and if it does then early warning is crucial. Working smoke alarms save lives and these devices should be placed on every level of a property.
“By recognizing the dangers and taking simple steps everyone can join Scotland’s fight against fire and reduce the chance of tragedies happening to ourselves and our loved ones.”
Further information on keeping your home safe is available on the SFRS website at /your-safety.aspx.