Each year Nova Scotia Firefighters receive thousands of emergency calls. Fire fighters respond to the problem as quickly as possible. But the commitment and dedication to the injured does not end when the emergency is under control and trucks are back in the station.

The Nova Scotia Fire Fighter’s Burn Treatment Society was started in 1982 by three Halifax firefighters who wanted to contribute personally to the fight against burns. Rallying fellow firefighters, by 1983 they were able to incorporate the Society to further burn prevention education and to raise funds to assist in the provision of modern burn treatment.

Every year the Society, with the help and participation of firefighters throughout Nova Scotia, holds special fund raising events. For over 35 years the annual Bowl-A-Thon for Burn Care, where firefighters, burn care nurses, burn support groups and their families travel to Halifax for a fun day of bowling, is just one of the larger events hosted by the Society. The proceeds from these events are primarily used to fulfill special requests from the QE2 Hospital and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital For Children - the two burn treatment centres in Nova Scotia and, to operate a week long summer camp (Camp Connect) for burn survivors of all ages.

As well, the Society is involved with the Nova Scotia Burn Support Group. This volunteer organization is comprised of burn survivors who come together to share experiences and to discuss how to cope with the physical and emotional needs resulting from burn injuries.

Approximately 60 adults and 40 children are treated annually at the province's two burn treatment centres. In these cases burns cover anywhere from 5 to 100 percent of the body. Teams of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and support staff work around the clock to help the patients recover. Specialized, highly technological equipment is also needed. The equipment is expensive and funding is limited.

Since its founding, the Nova Scotia Fire Fighters' Burn Treatment Society has purchased much needed equipment for the hospitals' burn treatment centres.

In 1988, the only skin bank facility in Atlantic Canada was installed at the Victoria General Hospital (QE2) with the Society's assistance. The unit has progressed to become the Multi-Organ Transplant Center, the only one east of Montreal in Canada. The initial cost of this unit was $55,000. The skin bank enables the hospital to store donors' skin, which is then used to cover burn victims' exposed areas. The grafted skin assists the body's healing process by covering the burned areas to protect them from infection.

Other equipment purchased by the Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn Treatment Society includes Clinitron beds, which aid in the healing of skin graft surgery and makes the patient as comfortable as possible, heart monitors, and a computer to assist occupational therapists design special pressure sensitive bandages to cover burned limbs. Where financial aid is an issue, the Society has also assisted many families with post hospital specialized bandage costs.

Another objective of the Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn Treatment Society is to educate people about burns. In addition to buying hospital equipment, the Society also responds to requests for educational tools. The Society has helped to establish a burn library at the QE2 Hospital by supplying books and audio-visual equipment. They have hosted professional seminars in the Atlantic region and have sent hospital staff from the Victoria General Hospital and the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital For Children as well as burn survivors to seminars in other areas of Canada and the United States.

The Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn Treatment Society's motto is "Taking Pride In Helping Others". However, the Society also needs help - your help.

The Society cannot continue to fulfill its goals without the financial support of the community. As well as sponsoring fund-raising events, you can make donations by contacting your local fire department or the Nova Scotia Firefighters' Burn Treatment Society.

Organ donation is another important way you can help. Facilities such as the skin bank are able to operate only with donations. Like other body organs, skin can be donated. Think about it. Discuss it with your family

If you wish to make a donation, remember to fill out the organ donor card and specify your request for skin donation on your driver's license.

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