Safety Advice for Fireworks Parties
Firework Advice and First Aid tips should something go wrong
Over a four week period around November 5th more than 1,000 people are likely to suffer injuries due to fireworks. Of these accidents, nearly 600 are likely to occur at home or private parties and nearly 400 accidents are likely to involve children under the age of 13*.
By far the safest way of enjoying Fireworks is to go to a properly organised display. However if you're buying fireworks to use at home, then check that the fireworks you choose are suitable for your garden and conform to British Standards. The standard for fireworks is BS 7114; 1998 and you should avoid any fireworks that don't meet that standard. Only set fireworks off in your garden if you've got enough space, both for setting them off safely, and so people can stand far enough back from them.
If you are organising a firework display, however small, you should ensure there is an appropriately stocked first aid kit close by – just in case of accidents. It is also sensible to have a bucket of sand available and plenty of water, a fire blanket and a bottle of sterile saline to irrigate eyes.
However you intend to enjoy the fireworks, ensure you follow the Fireworks code and never let a child handle or light a firework.
Sparklers are often viewed as a more harmless firework, but they still burn fiercely and they're not suitable for children under the age of five years old. They can get six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil or as hot as a welder’s torch.
Light sparklers one at a time and always wear gloves.
Always supervise children with sparklers and ensure that they stand still, away from other people.
Children should not wear very loose clothing or scarves as these can catch alight.
However careful you are, injuries can happen and here is how to treat some of the more common ones:
A minor burn is red and painful and sometimes results in a blister - for instance when a child picks up an old sparkler that hasn’t cooled down.
- Hold the affected area under cold, running water for at least 10 minutes
- a child is burnt and the area is blistered, or the area, larger than the size of the child’s palm, you should phone for an ambulance.
- ial care should be taken if the burn is on a young child or an elderly person. All deep burns of any size will require urgent hospital treatment.
- the burn has been cooled for at least 15 minutes, the burn can be covered with clingfilm or a hand can be inserted into a sterile plastic bag.
If clothing is on fire
Remember these four key things: stop, drop, wrap and roll.
- Stop the casualty panicking or running – any movement or breeze will fan the flames
- Drop the casualty to the ground and wrap them in a blanket, coat, or rug. Ensure they are made from inflammable fabrics such as wool Roll the casualty along the ground until the flames have been smothered.
If clothing has caught on fire it is more than likely that the burn will be severe. A severe burn is deep and doesn’t hurt as much as a minor one due to damaged nerve endings.
- Start cooling the burn immediately under cool running water for at least 10 minutes. Use a shower or hose if the burns are large. Keep cooling the burn while waiting for professional help to arrive. Ensure you are cooling the burn and not the casualty, keep areas that are not burnt as warm and dry as possible to try and avoid the casualty going into shock.
- Instruct a helper to dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance
- Make the casualty as comfortable as possible, ideally lie them down and elevate their legs, again to reduce the risk of clinical shock.
- Whilst cooling, remove any constricting items such as jewellery or clothing from the affected area unless they are stuck to the burn. Wear disposable gloves if they are available
For ALL burns NEVER
- Touch the burn
- Use lotions, ointments and creams
- Use adhesive dressings
- Break blisters.
Sprains and strains
These can be caused by falling or tripping over in the dark. There may be pain and tenderness with swelling and difficulty in moving the injured area.
- Advise the casualty to sit or lie down. Support the injured limb in a comfortable position
- Cool the area by applying an ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling
- Apply comfortable support to the injury by surrounding the area with a thick layer of padding, such as cotton wool, and secure with a bandage
- Raise the injured part to minimise bruising
- If the pain is severe or you are worried send them to hospital, otherwise advise them to rest.
Fireworks and bonfires have sparks, which can land in the eye and be very painful. Open the casualty’s eye and carefully look for any embedded object. If there is anything lodged in the eye, cover both eyes and phone for an ambulance. If you can see the object in the eye and it is moving freely, have a sterile eye wash and gently irrigate the eye to remove it. If the casualty is still in pain, or discomfort, seek medical advice.
It is strongly advised that parents attend a practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.
First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.
*based on 1994 statistics