Why Water-Jel?

Burn MD

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WATER-JEL Technologies is the world leader in emergency burn care products. Listed below are frequently asked questions covering our professional and consumer product lines.

If you would like information on burns and emergency burn care, please visit the Water-Jel Burn MD.

  1. What is Water-Jel?
  2. Why choose Water-Jel?
  3. What are the active ingredients in Water-Jel?
  4. Why do people need Water-Jel burn care products?
  5. Which Water-Jel product should I use or have on hand?
  6. Can Water-Jel be used on both thermal and chemical burns?
  7. Do Water-Jel products have expiration dates, and what should I do if the product has expired?
  8. Does Water-Jel freeze, and will it get ruined from low or high temperatures?
  9. Why use Water-Jel if water is available?
  10. Where do burn injuries occur?
  11. Will Water-Jel Burn Blankets cause HYPOTHERMIA?
  12. Will Water-Jel interfere with the successful establishment of AUTOGRAFT?
  13. How can we inspect Water-Jel Fire Blankets for leakage?
  14. Who uses WATER-JEL products?
  15. Who buys WATER-JEL products?


What is Water-Jel?

Water-Jel is a water-based, water-soluble gel that draws the heat out of a burn while it relieves the pain, cools the skin and protects against airborne contamination. By applying Water-Jel as soon as possible, the heat of the burn is dissipated, helping to prevent the heat from progressing deeper into the skin. The gel consists of 96% water and has the same cooling effects as water, but because it is thick, it stays on the burn and evaporates at a very slow rate. Water-Jel also contains a small amount of the natural extract Melaleuca alternifolia, better known as Tea Tree Oil. This has antibacterial activity to help prevent infection. Water-Jel also contains thickening agents and preservatives to maintain the gel’s viscosity and efficacy and give it a five-year shelf life.

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Why choose Water-Jel?

Water-Jel is the leading brand of emergency first aid for burns.

Water-Jel Sterile Burn Dressings feature more gel in the dressings, which means they feel better, longer. There's plenty of gel in the dressing to cover burns with a thick layer of gel to cool and soothe the burn.

Water-Jel dressings come in six sizes, so a first responder will have the right product for the injury. The more gel, the better. Water-Jel is the only brand that uses a medical-grade pad that carries the gel and applies it liberally to the burn injury. Other brands use a foamlike sponge that absorbs and retains the gel, but does not release it as effectively onto the burn. Water-Jel's unique Face Mask facial dressing has precut eye, nose and mouth holes for easy and immediate one-step care.

Water-Jel Fire Blankets come in three sizes for large area burns. They are the only gel-soaked blankets available in either high-visibility orange canisters (with an optional wall bracket) or in large foil pouches. Water-Jel Fire Blankets and Burn Dressings have a five-year expiration date from date of manufacture, so when people invest in Water-Jel products, they know when they can best be used and when they should be replaced. There's no guessing and no taking chances with an old product.

Water-Jel is the only brand that offers two topical cooling gels and a unique topical gel specifically for sunburns.

Burn Jel cools burns to soothe the pain and also contains pain-relieving lidocaine. Lidocaine is a commonly used anesthetic found in many over-the-counter pain-relieving products. Cool Jel has a similar formula to Burn Jel, without lidocaine. UnBurn is for sunburns. It contains lidocaine and also moisturizing vitamin E.

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What are the active ingredients in Water-Jel?

Water-Jel Burn Dressings and Fire Blankets do not contain any active ingredients; they are considered Class I Medical Devices.

Burn Jel, Burn Jel Plus and UnBurn contain lidocaine, which is found in many over-the-counter topical pain relievers. Cool Jel uses a similar gel formula to Burn Jel and UnBurn, but does not contain any active ingredient.

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Why do people need Water-Jel burn care products?

Water-Jel meets the following safety needs within most companies, organizations and homes:

  • Risk Management—lower the risk of serious injury and liability
  • Employee Productivity—improve productivity, care and goodwill to keep employees on the job
  • Workers' Compensation—lower employees’ time off due to injury
  • EMS—provide pain relief and reduce the need for narcotics
  • Family Safety—at-home, first aid response to minor burns and burn emergencies
  • It WORKS!

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Which Water-Jel product should I use or have on hand?

Sterile Burn Dressings and Fire Blankets are intended for any burns—minor burns, serious burns and burns that cover a large area of the body. Burn Jel and Cool Jel are intended for minor burns. UnBurn was created specifically for the relief of sunburn pain, and contains vitamin E to help moisturize the skin.

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Can Water-Jel be used on both thermal and chemical burns?

Yes, but they must be handled differently. The first principle in treating a thermal burn is to put out the fire and cool the burn wound to stop the burning process; if the victim is unconscious, the presence of a pulse and airway should be established early on. A Water-Jel blanket puts out the fire and cools the burn without removing the clothing, and the victim can be transported in the blanket. In contrast, the first principle in chemical burns is to remove the offending agent with copious and continued irrigation with water or saline. Generally, no attempt should be made to neutralize the chemical agent since that will waste precious time. The clothing must be removed completely and quickly in a chemical burn, as clothing serves as a reservoir for the offending agent. Also check the chemical's MSDS. Once the chemical agent has been flushed thoroughly, Water-Jel can be used to provide pain relief and protection.

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Do Water-Jel products have expiration dates, and what should I do if the product has expired?

Because we want to ensure the high quality of our products at all times, they have undergone stability testing to ensure the effectiveness for a given length of time. The expiration date indicates that the product, if not opened, will be stable and effective until that date. When produced, Burn Jel, Burn Jel Plus and UnBurn have a three-year shelf life from the date of manufacture; Cool Jel has a five-year shelf life from the date of manufacture. The expiration date will be noted on the packaging near the lot number. Water-Jel Sterile Burn Dressings and Fire Blankets have a five-year shelf life from the date of manufacture, and the expiration date can be found on the label near the lot number. If your Water-Jel product has expired, then it should be discarded or used for training and replaced. The blanket canisters can be placed in any local recycling program. The gel, since it is nontoxic, can be disposed of in the regular trash. No special handling is required.

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Does Water-Jel freeze, and will it get ruined from low or high temperatures?

Water-Jel freezes at 5°F but can be used when thawed at ambient temperatures. Similarly, Water-Jel shouldn't be stored at temperatures in excess of 130°F, but it will not harm the gel, blanket or dressing.

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Why use Water-Jel if water is available?

Water-Jel Is Portable—Water-Jel is portable, so you can apply it to a burn, wrap it lightly and go back to work or home while Water-Jel continues cooling the burn and relieving the pain. It's the only way to treat burns when on a jobsite where water is not readily available.

Water-Jel Provides Continuous Pain Relief and Cooling—Water-Jel provides cool, soothing relief that can be reapplied if necessary.

Water-Jel Doesn't Evaporate—Water-Jel doesn't quickly evaporate like sterile water does, so it minimizes the risk of overcooling the patient, even when treating large burns. Burn sheets or dry dressings soaked with sterile water quickly evaporate, causing the pain to come back and requiring the rewetting of the sheet or dressings, which can cause excessive cooling and even hypothermia.

Water-Jel Is Easy to Apply—For burns large and small. Treating victims of large area and serious burns with sterile water is difficult to manage. With Water-Jel, they are easy to manage. Water-Jel Fire Blankets and Burn Dressings help first responders quickly care for large area burn injuries in one easy step.

Water-Jel Helps Prevent Infection—Studies have shown that because Water-Jel covers the burn and contains Melaleuca alternifolia, better known as Tea Tree Oil, it helps prevent infection.

Water-Jel Has a Long Shelf Life—Water-Jel is naturally bacteriostatic with anti-bacterial activity to help prevent bacterial growth.

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Where do burn injuries occur?

Manufacturing Areas

Burns occur in areas where there are high heat, hot liquids, electricity and chemicals.

Small area or minor burns are commonly caused by welding sparks, hot liquid splashes, steam, hot tools, chemical splashes and small flames. These burn injuries occur frequently and can be treated quickly and effectively with Water-Jel Burn Jel, Cool Jel and small Water-Jel Burn Dressings.

Large area or serious burns occur in areas with risk of large spills, fire or explosion, high-temperature environments, hot metal, hot liquid, hot equipment, flame, steam, oil, gas and/or chemicals. These burns occur less frequently, but there is a severe threat of long-term effects or disability. Therefore, it is important to have Water-Jel Fire Blankets, Face Masks, Burn Stations and Burn Dressings on hand to effectively care for these severe and potentially life-threatening injuries.

Construction Sites

Burns occur at construction sites in many of the same ways they occur at manufacturing facilities. Often, water supplies are limited and transportation time to a medical facility may be longer, so the availability of Water-Jel is even more critical. Therefore, it is important to have Water-Jel Portable Burn Kits that contain FIre Blankets and Burn Dressings, to treat burn injuries at the jobsite.

Kitchen Areas

Burns occur among the kitchen staff in the lunchroom or cafeteria. Small area or minor burns occur from ovens, grills, stoves, deep fryers and microwaves. So it is important to have a Water-Jel Grab & Cool Burn Kit handy. Large area or serious burns occur from deep fryers, hot soup/liquid, gas ovens, gas stoves and gas grills. Here it is important to have a Water-Jel Emergency Burn Station.


Burns occur in the lunchroom or cafeteria among employees and visitors, from microwaves, hot coffee and tea, and hot spills. A Water-Jel Small Soft-sided Burn Kit should be available.

Warehouse Areas

Burns occur from use of warehouse equipment, such as wrapping machines, heat-sealing machines, glue guns and packaging machines, as well as in the lunchroom. Here, a Water-Jel Burn Kit is recommended.


Burns that occur at home often need additional care than those that occur at the workplace. These burns occur from stoves, microwaves, hot water, irons, steam, hair curling irons and dryers, etc. So it is advisable to have Burn Jel Plus and a Water-Jel Two-dressing Pack on hand.

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Will Water-Jel Burn Blankets cause HYPOTHERMIA?

No, Water-Jel does not cause hypothermia. It is well established that the immediate care of the burn wound should be to PUT OUT THE FIRE AND COOL THE BURN. During transport, the wound should be kept moist to avoid pain in the more superficial areas and desiccation (drying out) in all burned areas. Moist transport is even more important as the distance traveled becomes greater. However, we must realize that evaporation causes surface cooling and can lead to core hypothermia, particularly on larger burns, if proper care is not provided.

There are concerns about using burn sheets soaked with saline or sterile water because the fast evaporation and repeated wetting not only cause the skin to become cool, but also the patient. This may contribute to HYPOTHERMIA via evaporative cooling in a poorly managed transport over a long distance. The key lies in how the patient is handled.

What Needs to Be Done:

Wrap the patient in dry or foil blankets over his or her wet dressings, so as to keep evaporation to a minimum.

Keep the patient area of the transport vehicle as warm as possible. That's easy in a ground transport but more difficult in a helicopter. Also, every effort should be made to reduce excessive airflow over the patient.

In our opinion, the admonition to remove the Water-Jel Fire Blanket or the wet sheets, and replace them with dry sheets, is without merit. In fact, it is without thought, since this would cause delay, cause pain to the patient and be non-beneficial for the wound. All these opinions are relative to the transport from the site of the injury to the first level of definitive care.

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Will Water-Jel interfere with the successful establishment of AUTOGRAFT?

Water-Jel does not interfere with Autograft. Water-Jel is totally water-soluble. Any residual Water-Jel on a burn wound will be removed with the first bath. Even when Water-Jel is used for the definitive treatment of a small burn, it is removed with each washing. Any wound that will benefit from Autograft will have a necrotic (made of dead tissue cells) surface that must be removed for preparation of the bed. If there were noxious residuals, which there are not, they would be removed along with the necrotic material in preparation of the bed.

There are myriad reasons for graft loss, but Water-Jel is not among them.

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How can we inspect Water-Jel Fire Blankets for leakage?

Thorough inspection and quality assurance are done on our Fire Blankets at time of manufacture, so it should not be necessary for the blanket to be inspected. Water-Jel Fire Blankets are intended for one-time use. If, however, it is a strict policy of your company to conduct quality inspections, we recommend the following:

Please note when performing a quality inspection or removing the Fire Blanket for a non-emergency situation, the instructions are as follows:

To Remove Fire Blanket Bag from Canister

  1. Make sure canister is upright.
  2. Without removing bag from canister, lift and straighten the inner bag containing the fire blanket.
  3. Hold canister by the handle and lay the canister on the side.
  4. Tap canister gently to break the vacuum holding the bag containing the fire blanket.
  5. Slowly slide/shimmy the bag out of the canister.

To Place Fire Blanket Bag Back into Canister

  1. Remold fire blanket bag by rounding it out with your hands to fit the canister.
  2. With the canister lying on its side, slowly and gently guide the bag back into canister, working the bottom end of the fire blanket in first.
  3. When the bag is halfway in, turn canister upright and allow the bag to slowly slide down to bottom of canister.
  4. Place the cover back onto the opening and secure the seal.

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Who uses WATER-JEL products?

Everybody uses Water-Jel. Consumers, professionals and military personnel all rely on Water-Jel’s ability to stop the burning process, cool the burned area, relieve pain and prevent further injury.

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Who buys WATER-JEL products?

Companies and organizations that use Water-Jel products for burn emergencies include:

  • U.S. Military
  • Manufacturers
  • Petrochemicals, Refineries
  • Electric and Gas Utility Companies
  • Ambulance Corps
  • Fire Departments—Fire Rescue and Firefighting
  • Government—Federal, State and Municipal Agencies
  • Hospitals—Emergency Departments, Operating Room Suites (Fire Blankets)
  • Construction Companies
  • Contractors—Roofing, Paving, Welding, Plumbing and Electrical
  • Food Service Companies
  • Resorts and Cruise Lines
  • Restaurants
  • Schools and Colleges
  • Camps and Recreational Areas
  • Consumers—for Households and Everyday Lives

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