As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, people across the region are gearing up to celebrate Bonfire Night and Halloween in style but North West Ambulance Service is urging people to stay safe to avoid nasty burns and unnecessary trips to hospital.
The ambulance service saw a 130% rise in emergency calls for burns on 5 November last year compared to the same day the previous week with incidents including children being hit by a firework, a firework exploding in someone’s hand and petrol exploding in someone’s face at a bonfire.
One man knows only too well how devastating fireworks can be as his house went up in flames when a sparkler was thrown over his garden fence. Gary Hart, 52 from Ashton in Makerfield, was at home when he suddenly saw smoke coming from under his back door.
Trying to hold back the blaze whilst waiting for emergency services to arrive he suffered from smoke inhalation and needed treatment from a paramedic.
Gary said: “I am extremely lucky that nobody was more badly injured but I did suffer the effects of the smoke inhalation for some time after and the fire sadly caused the death of our pet rabbit as well as thousands of pounds worth of damage to my property.”
Sparklers can burn up to 1,000 degrees and should only be used by children when they are supervised by an adult, they’re wearing gloves to protect their hands and a bucket of water is nearby.
Luke Marriner, Advanced Paramedic for NWAS said: “Many injuries from fireworks and candles can be easily avoided with a bit of extra care, we advise people to attend organised events where possible as these are often safer, not to mention less expensive (and they usually have the best displays!).
“Please help us help you this Bonfire Night, if you are using your own fireworks, just take some time to think about safety – be sure to follow the instructions and if you’re in charge of the fireworks, it’s best to lay off the alcohol until after they’ve finished.
“It’s also important to protect yourselves from burns this Halloween with the use of candles and children’s fancy dress costumes which can be extremely flammable.”
NHS England Medical Director for Cheshire & Merseyside and Lancashire & South Cumbria, Dr Kieran Murphy, said: “Bonfire night is particularly busy for our emergency services, so please help us help you by being sensible when you’re out enjoying the festivities and keeping your distance from bonfires and fireworks to prevent avoidable injuries. If you need urgent, non-life threatening medical help, you can call NHS 111 or get health information and advice online at 111.nhs.uk at any time.”
For advice on how to treat minor burns follow these simple steps:
- Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin, including babies’ nappies. But do not try to remove anything that’s stuck to the burnt skin, as this could cause more damage.
- Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes as soon as possible after the injury.
- Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.
- Treat the pain from a burn with paracetamol or ibuprofen.
For more serious burns, get further medical assistance from your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. In the event of a life-threatening emergency, dial 999.