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Ensuring Fireworks are memorable for all the right reasons!

Last Updated on : 26th October 2018

As winter approaches there are many festivities to look forward to which feature fireworks such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Year and Chinese New Year.

There have been calls for stricter firework controls and there have been recent incidents on our local roads and commons with teenagers using fireworks as weapons.  There have been reports of fireworks being thrown at Primary School children playing football on the common and being lobbed at people on bikes and motorcycles.

Bonfires and fireworks are fun but need to be treated with care. There are many accidents around this time of year with the most common injuries being burns, debris in the eye from the bonfire or from fireworks, and sprains and strains occurring if people stumble in the darkness.

Following our top tips to keep your whole family, including your pets, safe so you can enjoy the fireworks and have a memorable evening for all the right reasons.

Fancy Dress

Take a torch with you and hold your child’s hand firmly, particularly when crossing roads, in crowds and if approaching something potentially frightening – children can often bolt when scared.

Scary fancy dress is usually made of dark colours and can make children difficult to spot at night. Add reflective tape to your child’s outfit or encourage them to wear glow bands around their wrists to increase visibility.

Masks can restrict a child’s vision making it hard for them to see hazards such as road traffic.

Ensure costumes fit well and don’t pose a trip hazard or have dangly bits that can pose a fire risk. Many fancy dress costumes are extremely flammable, so stay away from naked flames.

Fireworks

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at an organised, regulated display. If you are planning to host a firework display in your home be sure to follow the Fireworks Code.

Never return to a firework that has not gone off and keep everyone, especially young children far away from the site of ignition.

Only buy fireworks conforming to British Standard number (BS 7114) that are suitable for the size of your garden. Ensure you have space avoiding any overhanging trees. Direct fireworks well away from spectators and ideally have them inside, watching through the windows.

Keep all fireworks in a closed metal box. Read the instructions on the firework by torchlight not by naked flame.Light fireworks at arms length, using a taper.Never throw a used firework on the bonfire and never return to a lit firework that hasn’t gone off.

Eye injuries

Occasionally debris and sparks from fireworks are blown into the eyes and can be extremely painful:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly or wear sterile gloves before touching the affected area.Open the casualty’s eye and look carefully.
  • If there is anything embedded in the eye, cover both eyes and phone for an ambulance.
  • If you can see an object moving freely in the eye, use sterile eyewash and gently irrigate the eye to remove it.

Bonfires

Build a bonfire away from buildings, trees, wooden fences and children’s play areas and make sure the bonfire is solidly built with a stable base.

Never light the bonfire with paraffin or petrol.

Always make sure the fire is properly extinguished when you are finished. Put water on the embers and have copious amounts of water readily on hand for any accidents.

Smoke inhalation

Bonfires can exacerbate breathing difficulties for those with asthma.

If someone’s inhaled smoke fumes:

If someone is affected by smoke inhalation:

  • Move them away from the smoke so they can breathe fresh air.
  • Loosen any tight clothing around their neck to help them breathe normally.
  • Help them administer their asthma pump if they have one.
  • If they don’t recover quickly, call 999/112 for an ambulance.

Sparklers

Sparklers are fun, however they can get up to six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil. Children under 5 years old should not be given sparklers and older children should be closely supervised.

Hold the sparklers horizontally as far away from your face and body as possible and from other people.Always wear gloves when lighting and holding sparklers.

Don’t run with sparklers and don’t wave them at others. Be particularly careful near fancy dress costumes, which are rarely fire resistant.

Spent sparklers should be put in a bucket of cold water or sand. 

Minor burns

If someone is burnt and the affected area is larger than the size of the casualty’s hand, you should phone for an ambulance immediately.

  • hold the affected area under cold, running water for at least 10 minutes.
  • special care should be taken if the burn is on a young child or an elderly person.
  • once the burn has been cooled for at least 15 minutes, the burn can be covered with cling film or a burns dressing.
  • get all burns assessed by medical professionals.

If clothing is on fire: 

Remember STOP, DROP, WRAP and ROLL

Stop the person whose clothing is on fire from panicking or running – any movement or breeze will fan the flames causing them to spread.

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.

FIRST AID KIT

Ensure you have the following:

  • a well-stocked first aid kit – including burns dressings, non-adherent dressings and bandages
  • a bucket of sand to put out fireworks safely, easy access to plenty of water and a fire blanket
  • sterile saline to irrigate eyes if sparks are blown into them.

KEEPING YOUR PETS SAFE

A recent survey by the RSPCA revealed almost half our dogs (45%) display signs of fear at the sound of fireworks. Similarly, cats and other animals find this time of year extremely distressing.

Follow our easy tips to make sure this time of year is less stressful for your pet:

Don’t take your pet to a fireworks display and please don’t leave your pet alone if you feel they will be upset by the noise of fireworks.

Create a soothing den where your pets can feel safe. Fill it with blankets and cushions as noise-absorbers and put some of their favourite toys and blankets in there too.

Keep your pet indoors in the evening. Keep doors and windows shut and close dog and cat flaps. Draw the curtains to minimise noises and flashes of light.

Play soothing sounds or have the TV or radio on as white noise to distract your pet. A new toy, chew or blanket can prove a welcome distraction and comforter.

By Emma Hammett of First Aid for Life

First Aid for Life is an award-winning, fully regulated First Aid Training business. Our trainers are highly experienced medical, health and emergency services professionals who will tailor the training to your needs.

Onlinefirstaid.com is the leading provider of interactive online first aid courses – an ideal way to refresh your regulated training or easily access this vital training as and when it suits you.

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.

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