BONFIRE night is always a fun evening for the family to enjoy.
But being around pyrotechnics and fire could also quickly spell disaster if people aren’t careful.
Experts say injuries are much more likely to happen at private parties, where trained professionals aren’t on hand to help.
So health charity St John Ambulance is urging parents to learn some basic first aid skills before they head out for a night of firework celebrations.
Dr Lynn Thomas, Medical Director at St John Ambulance, said: “Every year, our highly skilled volunteers keep local communities safe at firework events across the country.
“Attendees at these events can be reassured that expert help is on hand if they need it.
“For those celebrating at smaller community events, we would urge extreme caution and advise strictly following instructions when handling, lighting and watching fireworks.
“In those unfortunate instances when someone has a minor injury, knowing what to do and acting fast can prevent further harm and relieve suffering.
“However, always dial 999 in the case of serious injuries.”
1. Burns or scalds
Young kids aren’t always aware of what’s safe to touch and what isn’t.
Sparklers are often seen as harmless ways to allow young children to take part in fireworks night but they can reach temperatures of 20 times that of boiling water.
Kids under five should never be given sparklers and older children should wear gloves and hold the sparkler at arms length.
A bucket of water must always be nearby to put used sparklers in – hot end down.
Other accidents can occur such as the result of a rogue firework and although rare, it’s good to know what to do if someone get’s injured.
If someone’s got a burn or scald:
- Move the person away from the heat
- Place the burn or scald under cool running water for at least 10 minutes
- If the burn is to a young child, larger than your hand, on the face, hands or feet, or is a deep burn, call 999
- Remove jewellery and clothing around the area, unless stuck to the burn
- Cover the burn loosely, lengthways with kitchen film to prevent infection
- Don’t burst blisters or apply creams or lotions
- Monitor and treat for shock if necessary
- Tell them to seek medical advice
2. Cinders in the eye
Every year, 10 people in the UK lose their sight and 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents caused by fireworks, according to the Eyecare Trust.
And, its not just children larking about that are at risk – three quarters of serious traumas are sustained by adults and most are at private parties.
If someone’s got something in their eye:
- Tell them not to rub it, so they don’t make it worse
- Pour clean water over their eye to wash out what’s in there
- If this doesn’t work, try to lift the debris out with a damp corner of a clean tissue
- If this doesn’t work either, don’t touch anything that’s stuck in their eye – cover it with a clean dressing or non-fluffy material
- Then take or send them straight to hospital
3. Smoke inhalation
Smoke particles from the fireworks and burning wood can linger in the air and create localised pollution.
It can spark potentially deadly asthma attacks for millions of sufferers.
This is a major trigger for 61 per cent of people with asthma, a serious respiratory condition, according to Asthma UK.
In particular, they say the smoke in the air irritates sufferers’ airways so they become more inflamed and tighten.
If someone’s inhaled smoke:
- Move them away from the smoke so they can breathe in some fresh air
- Help them sit down in a comfortable position and loosen any tight clothing around their neck to help them breathe normally
- If they don’t recover quickly, call 999/112 for an ambulance.