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.