Introduction: Western Australia is the largest state in Australia, accounting for approximately one third of the Australian continent. The adult Burns Unit in Western Australia is at Royal Perth Hospital, which provides for the whole adult population of approximately 1.8 million, 80% of which live in and around the state capital city, Perth (approx. 1.4 million). The unit also offers a minor burn care facility.Methods: The aim of this study was to perform the first prospective review of minor burn injuries in Western Australia, to classify patient demographics, injury patterns and primary treatment.Results and conclusion: Two hundred and twenty seven patients were referred to the minor burn facility at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) during the study period. One hundred and three patients (45%) sustained a scald, a further 44 (19%) received a flame burn. Thirty-seven (16%) patients sustained a contact burn, 18 (7.8%) patients attended the clinic with a chemical burn. Sixty percent of all patients reviewed had burns less than one percent. Only 39% of all our patients received adequate first aid. Sixty one percent of all patients received inadequate or inappropriate first aid.This study highlights a number of important issues. The over representation of metropolitan patients coupled with the low numbers of aboriginal patients reinforces the need for rural burns education. The best service we can provide is education on burns prevention and primary management. There are a number of other areas we hope to address in the future, the high incidence of domestic accidents, home safety must be a priority, coupled with seasonal promotional campaigns to address issues such as car radiator injuries. The most striking, and perhaps the most worrying finding in this study is the poor application of basic first aid principles. This is something that is unacceptable, needs further investigation and the lack of basic knowledge needs to be addressed at all levels of the community. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.