Tag Archives for " safety "

Bonfire night and firework safety

Remember, Remember the 5th November, Bonfire Treason and Plot! Yes – it’s that time of year again when we commemorate the foiling of the gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament in 1605.

Tonight is bonfire night and while we all enjoy seeing the fireworks, each year there are approximately 1000  injuries caused by careless handling of fireworks and bonfires. In the excitement that surrounds bonfire parties some basic rules are sometimes forgotten.

Did you know sparkler temperatures can reach up to 2000 C? That’s a lot hotter than the boiling point of water.
Rockets travel to a speed of 150 miles/hour- not easy to leap out of the way from those.

The best way to see fireworks is to go to an organised display, but if you are planning on having a few fireworks at home, these simple rules may help.

RoSPA’s Firework Code

Please take care  and follow the firework code (RoSPA):

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  • Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving
  • Teach children to hold sparklers away from their body and not to wave them near anyone or run whilst holding them.
  • Teach children not to pick up used sparklers or fireworks- they will still be hot/may explode

If you suffer any burns:

  1. cool the area immediately with cool water for at least 10 minutes.  This helps to take the heat out of the wound, helps with pain relief and reduces some of the swelling.
  2. Remove clothing providing it isn’t stuck. If it is stuck, leave it on.
  3. Remove jewelery from hands etc. – burns will cause fingers to swell, and circulation to the fingers may rapidly become impaired.
  4. DON’T put lotions or potions or butter etc on the burn.
  5. Once you have cooled the area cover it with a suitable burns dressing, or clingfilm if proper dressings are not available.
  6. Seek medical advice if you are at all concerned, and in any case if the burn is larger than the casualty’s hand, if the skin is white or charred, or on the face, hands or other sensitive areas where blistering occurs.

Following these simple rules should mean that bonfire night is an enjoyable affair.

Wrap up warmly and have fun everyone!

For Further Advice

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents  (RoSPA)have Safer Fireworks website with lots of useful information about firework safety

The UK Government also has a useful firework safety website, covering firework safety and the law.

First Aid training for minor burn injuries is covered in the Emergency First Aid training course syllabus, while the full 3-day First aid at Work training course covers burns in more detail.

Fright-free Festive Fun

Are you ready for Christmas yet?  Now that the Christmas tree is up and lights are twinkling I’m beginning to feel more festive and the childrens’ excitement levels are rising daily.

Christmas is obviously a time when families get together to play, eat, drink and generally be merry. Unfortunately it is also a time when bizarre accidents are more likely to happen, (perhaps fuelled by alcohol or just by having too many people in a crowded space).

Each accident and emergency department across the land will, no doubt, have their fair share of people coming through the departments with injuries caused by cooking the Christmas dinner ranging from oven burns to more serious cuts.

Common Accidents

Various websites, hospitals and others  have listed a range of accidents from Christmas past.  Some are more daft than others.  Here’s a range of them…

Electrocution from…

  • faulty tree lights
  • watering the Christmas tree while the lights are still on!
  • testing a 9V battery on your tongue!

Broken bones after…

  • falling off ladders whilst decorating the tree
  • pulling Xmas crackers too violently!
  • tripping over new toys

Fires caused by:

  • faulty Christmas lights (again)
  • carelessness while using candles

Choking on…

  • the turkey
  • non-chocolate tree decorations

Cuts & bleeding from…

  • slicing your hand whilst wrestling with the plastic packaging on new toys
  • treading on toys, or on discarded toy packaging

Miscellaneous others

  • various alcohol-related injuries, too numerous to mention
  • being poked in the eye with a Christmas tree branch whilst trying to retrieve presents at the back of the tree

And our particular favourite…

  • injuries sustained while colliding with out-of-control Scalextric cars!

With all these hazards in mind, while you are out getting new batteries for the kids toys, why not pick up a few extra supplies of plasters and hangover cures. Take a quick peek at your first aid book, just to remind yourself of common treatments for those unfortunate accidents that may just happen.

Above all, I wish you a safe and very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Spring is in the Air – Gardening Safety

We all have sheds and garages that are crammed full of stuff and bits of things we might need in the future. Over the winter more stuff just gets piled in and perhaps now it’s time to tidy it up.

But before you embark on your gardening/shed clearing this weekend, bear in mind that 1 in 5 of all accidents happen in the garden.

Cuts, bruises, and more…

Each year, many people arrive at A&E departments with injuries ranging from the minor sprains, cuts and blisters to the more severe bleed, broken bones and amputations, caused by  accidents in and around the home and garden.

Don’t forget to check your equipment

Taking some time to check your equipment and safe storage of things such as weedkillers, adhesives and solvents could prevent nasty things happening. Most of these are common sense and really don’t take much time out of our busy days to deal with. Lets face it, a few minutes spent checking and maintaining equipment and clearing out the shed/garage may save time in A& E later.

RoSPA Checklist

Helpfully, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have produced a checklist to help householders think about safety issues in the home and garden:


Ladders should be checked before using them to ensure they are in good repair and that they are placed at a safe angle (1in 4). It is almost incredible to think that people would climb up a ladder where the rungs were worn, but they do!


Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using weed killers, and never transfer chemicals to alternative containers that could confuse and lead to poisoning.

Sharp Tools:

Maintain sharp tools and remember to put them away tidily after to use to prevent injury, particularly to children.


Keep paths and steps level, stable and clear of any moss that might cause slips trips and falls.
Provide safety rails and barriers to changes in garden levels.


Site bonfires well away from fences, sheds and trees, and keep children away from them too.

Adhering to theses simple rules makes gardening safer for everyone concerned, so that you can enjoy your time in the garden and make the most of any fine weather.

Happy Gardening!



How safe are you on the slopes?

As the February half term holiday approaches, many of you will be setting off on skiing or snowboarding holidays.

Ski Safety

But how much thought have you given to your safety on the slopes? Do you routinely use helmets to protect yourself in the same way as you use a seatbelt to prevent injuries in cars?  Collisions on the slopes with other skiers and trees are the most common causes of head injury yet not many are yet wearing protective headgear.


There have been some fatalities on ski slopes caused by collisions, most notably the actress Natasha Richardson who died in Canada in 2009 having sustained head injuries during a fall on the beginners’ slopes. A mother of four also died in Austria following a collision with another person. Neither were wearing helmets.

Helmets reduce injury

A study reported today in the news has concluded that helmets should be more readily available to skiers and snow boarders to prevent traumatic head injuries and deaths on ski slopes.  This is based on evidence that head injuries in adults are reduced by 35% and by up to 59% in children by wearing helmets.

The suggestion is that helmets should be more readily available, perhaps on loan or as part of holiday packages, to encourage those currently put off by the high prices of helmets, to use them. It is now mandatory for children under 16 to wear them in Austria but other countries have yet to make them compulsory.

Some instructors and skiers still think they are unnecessary and that wearing them gives false confidence, encouraging risky behaviour on the slopes. Hopefully this latest evidence will encourage more people to wear them and thus prevent more injuries.

Further reading