The East of England Ambulance Service and first aid charity St john Ambulance have issued advice ahead of bonfire night.
Every year, the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is called to patients who have suffered firework or bonfire-related burns or injuries.
The service says it is best to try to attend a professionally-organised display. However, if you are planning to have your own event, here are some tips:
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch if necessary
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
- Never use paraffin, petrol or any accelerant on a bonfire to get it going
- Always supervise children when using sparklers
Meanwhile, first aid charity St John Ambulance is urging everyone to learn some basic first aid skills.
Statistics show that thousands of people will visit A&E every year for treatment of a firework-related injury, but with some basic first aid skills everyone can be prepared to help in a firework first aid emergency.
Burns or scalds
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 10 minutes minimum
- If the burn is to a child, larger than your hand, on the face, hands or feet, or is a deep burn, call 999/112
- 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
- Monitor and treat for shock if necessary
- Tell them to seek medical advice.
Debris in the eye
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 and/or to cool the burn
- 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.
If someone’s inhaled smoke fumes:
- 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 for an ambulance.