3 Nov 2014 - Keep safe this Bonfire Night

In the run up to Bonfire Night, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) is urging members of the public to stay safe and keep free from harm at private and community bonfire displays.

In 2013, the ambulance service attended a range of incidents, including:

  • A teenage patient from Greater Manchester who suffered severe facial burns and lacerations after a firework exploded
  • In Merseyside, a member of the public was treated for shock after a firework attack near their home
  • A patient in Lancashire was treated for severe burns to their legs

Common injuries include burns to hands from sparklers, fireworks or bonfires.

Last year, NWAS saw a 15 per cent rise in 999 calls received over 18,500 999 calls leading up to and including Bonfire night. The number of 999 calls during the same time period in 2012 was approximately 15,800.

Derek Cartwright, Director of Operations at NWAS, said: “Around the Bonfire Night period, our ambulance crews will treat a number of patients, children and adults, ranging from those with minor burns to those with more serious, life-threatening injuries.

“It is easy to forget how dangerous fireworks, bonfires and even sparklers can be. Sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil and a rocket can reach speeds of 150mph, causing serious harm to anything in its path.

“There is worrying upward trend in the number of calls we are receiving. Throughout the celebrations, please remember to keep a watchful eye on your children and to keep them out of harm’s way and if you are handling or lighting fireworks yourself, remember to follow all the safety rules.

“Fireworks used properly are safe and accidents are avoidable. However, they can cause devastating, life-changing injuries or even death if safety precautions are not followed.

“We recommend that people go along to a professionally-organised public display. But, if you are planning to host your own event, we urge you to exercise caution and make safety a priority to ensure everyone has a good time without getting hurt.”

Watch our video with Pathfinder Area Manager Simon McCrory as he recalls a devastating fire-related injury and shares his safety points for this Bonfire night.

In the event of an accident with fireworks or fires you should:

  • Extinguish any flames if the casualty is alight
  • If alight, drop to the floor and roll to extinguish flames, keeping mouth and eyes      closed
  • If you see someone else on fire, tell them to ‘Stop, drop and roll’
  • Use cold water (ideally cold running water) to cool the burnt area and reduce pain
  • Not remove burnt clothing which has stuck to the skin
  • Not use any creams, oils etc
  • Seek urgent medical help, calling 999 if injuries are serious or, for minor injuries,contact NHS 111.

For more information on firework safety, visit The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Safer Fireworks website: www.saferfireworks.com or visit the NHS Choices website at: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fireworksafety/Pages/Fireworksafety.aspx