St John Ambulance volunteers will be attending seven firework events across the island so that anyone who needs first aid gets it quickly. However, injuries are much more likely to occur at private parties, where trained volunteers won’t be on hand to help.
Every year, around 1,000 people will visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around the 5th November. But with some basic first aid skills, everyone can be prepared to help in a firework first aid emergency.
James Fitzgerald, South East region Events Manager, said:
“St John Ambulance is keen that people enjoy Bonfire Night but don’t end their celebrations in hospital.
“Our volunteers will be on hand to provide expert first aid assistance at hundreds of displays this year but if you are organising a private event, you need to know what to do if there is a first aid emergency.
“Research suggests that fewer than one in five (18 per cent) of us knows even basic first aid, yet these are simple skills to learn which can have an incredible impact.
“For example, if someone suffers a burn injury, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent them from going into shock or suffering long-term damage. No-one should suffer from a lack of first aid, which is why we have put together our Firework Fan’s First Aid Guide.”
The most common injuries that our volunteers are required to treat at Bonfire Night gatherings are burns, e.g. from fireworks, fire or sparklers; debris in the eye from bonfires and fireworks; smoke inhalation; and scalds from hot drinks.
Firework Fans’ First Aid Guide
Burns or scalds
If someone’s got a burn or scald:
- Run it under cold water for at least 10 minutes. You need to completely cool their skin to prevent pain, scarring or further damage
- If the burn is on a child, or if you think it’s a serious burn (for example, if it’s deep, larger than the size of their hand, or on the face, hands or feet) call 999/112 for an ambulance
- Remove any jewellery or clothing near the burn (unless they’re stuck to it)
- Don’t pop any blisters or apply creams – this can make it worse
- Once cooled, cover the burn with cling film or a plastic bag
- If necessary, treat them for shock, by laying them down with their legs raised and supported above the level of their heart
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 999/112 for an ambulance.
For first aid information, visit www.sja.org.uk/bonfire for firework first aid tips.