Burns surgeon Professor Michael Muller visited Bundaberg yesterday to launch a campaign aimed at reducing burns from the unsafe use of fuel on fires. Photo: Rob Barich bur0502a
Burns surgeon Professor Michael Muller visited Bundaberg yesterday to launch a campaign aimed at reducing burns from the unsafe use of fuel on fires. Photo: Rob Barich bur0502a

Bundy men add fuel to fire

WIDE Bay Burnett men have a touch of the firebug, with 15% admitting they had suffered burns from fires that had been fuelled with petrol.

In an effort to decrease that statistic, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital burns surgeon Michael Muller launched a burns prevention campaign at Bundaberg Hospital yesterday.

The “Flamin’ Fool” campaign features the story of Ben, who does not wish to be identified, who suffered burns to 65% of his body after petrol was tipped onto a fire.

“All I remember is someone threw petrol on a fire and the next thing I knew was, I was in hospital,” Ben said.

Ben was taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, where he went through weeks of treatment.

“I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable I felt in my own skin,” he said.

Professor Muller said the campaign in the Wide Bay Burnett was a pilot program designed to see how effective it would be.

“We will know the extent to which it will have worked by pre-testing and post-testing 800 people to determine their fire safety,” he said.

The first advertisements appeared on Wide Bay television screens last night and 82 commercial spots are lined up for the next seven days.

“This is a research project and if we can demonstrate this is effective we can roll it out elsewhere,” Prof Muller said.

The region was chosen to test the campaign because the research team believed the area could be effectively quarantined.

“We are also not campaigning in the Moreton Bay Council area while we wait to see how effective the campaign is and use that area as a control,” Prof Muller said.

Prof Muller said it was mostly men who suffered burns and often the burns occurred when alcohol was involved.

“Most males we interviewed have used fuel in a fire in some way,” he said.

“Trust me, at the hospital we don’t need the practice.”

The pilot campaign will finish next Saturday.



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