2 November - Be Safe This Bonfire Night

In the run up to Bonfire Night, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) is reminding people to stay safe and keep themselves and others free from harm at private and community bonfire displays.

NWAS is encouraging everyone to have fun and enjoy the displays they attend but are urging people to be aware of the dangers and be mindful of safety to help prevent common injuries such as burns to hands or the face from sparklers, fireworks and bonfires.

Last year NWAS saw a 5 per cent increase in 999 calls, as over 1,500 additional emergency calls were made leading up to and around Bonfire Night compared to the same time period the previous year in 2013.

The range of incidents that the ambulance service attended last year included:

  • In Cumbria a firework bounced off a garden wall and hit a group of children resulting in burn injuries
  • In Merseyside a man was treated for significant facial burns after a firework he was holding exploded in his face
  • In Greater Manchester a person had too much to drink and fell into a bonfire and seriously burnt both their hands.
  • In Lancashire a man lost a finger when it was blown off by holding a firework
  • In Cheshire a patient suffered facial injuries and burns when a firework was thrown  

David Blowers, Community Specialist Paramedic at NWAS, said: “Each Bonfire Night me and my colleagues treat a number of patients, children and adults, who have called the ambulance service suffering from minor burns through to extremely serious and life-changing injuries.

“We should all be mindful of how dangerous fireworks, bonfires and even sparklers can be. Sparklers can burn up to 1000 degrees centigrade and fireworks can reach speeds of 150mph, which will cause serious damage to anything it hits.

“Throughout the celebrations always remember to keep a watchful eye on your children to keep them out of harm’s way and if you are handling or lighting fireworks yourself, always remember to follow the instructions and adhere to the Firework Code.

 “We recommend that people attend a professionally-organised public display. However, if you are planning to host your own event please make safety a priority to ensure everyone has a good time without getting hurt.”

 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 the pain
  • Do not remove any burnt clothing which has stuck to the skin
  • Do not use any creams or oils on burn injuries
  • Seek urgent medical help by calling 999 for life threatening or serious injuries, 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