We're reminding people ahead of Bonfire Night celebrations to be aware of being safe around fires and fireworks and issuing advice on how to treat some of the more common injuries which occur at this time of year.
While our volunteers will be keeping people safe at organised firework events across Wales, injuries are much more likely to occur at private parties; where trained volunteers won’t be on hand to help.
Everyone can be prepared to help in a firework first aid emergency by using some basic first aid skills.
If you’re organising a firework display, however big or small, you need to ensure you have a first aid kit close by – just in case!
Make sure you know how to react if someone suffers an injury during the fireworks season.
Follow our simple advice on how best to treat basic fire and firework related injuries:
Firework First Aid
Children under five should not use sparklers.
Sparklers can reach 2,000°C – more than 15 times the boiling point of water.
- Always wear gloves when handling sparklers
- Light one sparkler at a time
- South Wales Fire and Rescue Service advise you shouldn't dress in loose or flowing clothes as they may catch light
- Hold sparklers at arm’s length and away from the body
- Always put sparklers into a bucket of cold water afterwards
- Always supervise children when they are using sparklers and children under five should not use them
Debris in the Eye
All eye injuries are potentially serious because of the risk to the casualty's vision.
If someone has 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, do not touch anything that’s stuck in their eye – cover it with a clean dressing or non-fluffy material and take or send them straight to hospital
Burns or Scalds
Burns are the most common injuries at fireworks displays. People often pick up sparklers at the wrong end or even come into contact with lit fireworks.
If someone has 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 water is not available, any cold, harmless liquid, such as milk or canned drinks, can be used
- If the burn is to a child, larger than your hand, on the face, hands or feet, or is a deep burn, call 999
- Gently remove any constricting clothing or jewellery before the injured area begins to swell. DO NOT remove clothing if it has stuck to the burn
- Once cool, cover the burn with kitchen film or place a clean plastic bag over a foot or hand. Apply lengthways, not around the limb, because the injured area may swell. If you do not have kitchen film use a sterile dressing or a non-fluffy pad and bandage
- DO NOT apply creams or oils, or pop blisters
- Monitor and treat for shock if necessary
- Severe burns (large and/or deep) and all burns to infants should be checked by a doctor
“We understand parties are a big part of Bonfire Night celebrations but we would urge anyone who is holding or attending a firework party to familiarise themselves with our first aid advice.
“In situations where someone is hurt by a firework, knowing how to react quickly, could really help in making a difference to the severity of their injuries.
“Each year our fully trained first aiders provide vital medial cover at bonfire displays across Wales so they are there when people need them the most.
“By following our advice, people can minimise the risk of obtaining severe injury over the bonfire and fireworks season.”
St John Cymru Acting Chief Executive Officer, Helen Smith
For more information about how you can stay safe this bonfire night, click here.