Firework Safety

It’s fast approaching Bonfire Night and there will undoubtedly be thousands of people enjoying some firework fun. However, there is also the serious side of these official and private events. There are hundreds of injuries each year which require first aid treatment or even a visit to hospital for more serious injuries. We talk to our Operations and Policy Director Jim Dorman for some first aid hints and tips for a safe Bonfire Night experience.

“The 5th November is a date which sees hundreds of fireworks displays throughout Scotland and most are very well run in terms of safety. However, were there is fireworks and fire, there is a higher risk of burns.

If someone does suffer a burn from a firework, follow these tips:

• Keep calm. It won’t help if you’re panicking, you’ll only make your casualty worry more.
• Cool the burn with cold water for at least 10 minutes.
• If there is any clothing sticking to the burn, cut around the material sticking to the skin – don’t pull it off.
• If you can, take off any belts or jewellery near the burn that the casualty is wearing as burned skin can swell.
• Do not touch the burn or burst any blisters.
• Cover the burn with clean, smooth, non-fluffy material (clingfilm), to protect from infection.
• If the casualty’s clothing has caught fire, get him/her to stop, drop to the floor and roll them along the ground until they flames have been smothered.
• Get the casualty to hospital unless it is a small burn.
• Call 999/112 if the burn is very serious, or the person is unconscious.
• Don’t give a casualty who has been seriously burned anything to eat or drink. They may need for anaesthetic at the hospital.
• Never rub butter, oil or ointment into a burn.

Other safety tips I can recommend are for specific fireworks such as sparklers. Sparklers are a great source of enjoyment for children and is more often than not their first chance to hold a firework.

• First of all, it is well worth knowing that a sparkler when ignited burns at between 1000 and 1600°C.
• You shouldn’t give a child under the age of five a sparkler to hold.
• Always light a sparkler one at a time and always wear gloves.
• Ensure you supervise children with sparklers and insist that they stand still, and keep a good distance from other people.
• Put spent sparklers into a bucket of sand and leave them there until they have completely cooled.

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