Don’t Get Burned on Bonfire Night. Safety Advice by Watson Training Services
Every year around 1,000 people will visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around the 5th November. But with some basic first aid skills, everyone can be prepared to help in a firework first aid emergency. Watson Training services would like give you a step by step guide of how to treat a potential burn to you or your child. “Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil”? Sparklers are not toys and should never be given to a child under five. Make sure your children wear gloves when holding a sparkler! What to do in an emergency.
Make sure it’s safe to approach the area and you are not in any immediate danger yourself, if there is a danger try to eliminate it or call 999 immediately.
Assess the extent of the burn and the depth;
The outer layer of skin is burnt causing redness, tenderness and inflammation.
Typical factors causing this would be sunburn or touching a hot iron.
The skin is not broken or blistered.
Partial thickness burn
The outer layer of the skin is burnt and broken causing blistering, swelling, pain and rawness.
Full thickness burn
All the layers of skin have been damaged causing the skin to look pale, charred and waxy with fatty deposits. There may also be damage to the nerves.
• Wear disposable gloves
• Remove the watch and any jewellery around the affected area. However, don’t try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin because this could cause more damage.
• Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10 to 30 minutes, ideally within 20 minutes of the injury occurring. Never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances such as butter.
• Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. If you have no Clingfilm use a suitable sterile dressing that is not fluffy. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand. Remember never burst any blisters!
• Keep yourself or the person warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area. Keeping warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person’s body temperature drops below 35ºC (95ºF). This is a risk if you are cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
When to go to hospital
You will now need to decide whether further medical treatment is necessary. Go to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department for:
• Large or deep burns – any burn bigger than the affected person’s hand.
• Full thickness burns of all sizes – these burns cause white or charred skin.
• Partial thickness burns on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals – these are burns that cause blisters.
• All chemical and electrical burns.
Also get medical help straight away if the person with the burn:
• Has sustained any other injuries.
• Is going into shock – signs include cold clammy skin, sweating, rapid shallow breathing and weakness or dizziness.
• Is pregnant
• Is over 60 years of age
• Is under five years of age
• Has a medical condition such as heart, lung or liver disease, or diabetes.
• Has a weakened immune system (the body’s defence system), for example because of HIV or AIDS, or because they’re having chemotherapy for cancer. REMEMBER for safety reasons only ever buy UK legal Fireworks, Legal Fireworks will carry the BS 7114 stamp.
And remember the FIREWORK CODE
1. Never give a sparkler to a child under the age of five. Always ensure children wear gloves when using sparklers and are supervised at all times.
2. When finished with, they should be doused in a bucket of water.
3. Use only fireworks marked to BS 71141.
4. Keep all fireworks in a closed box. It should preferably be made of metal or plastic and kept tightly sealed.
5. Follow the instructions on the firework closely.
6. Use a taper and light fireworks one at a time at arm’s length.
7. Stand well back.
8. Never go back to a firework that has been lit2.
9. Never put fireworks in your pockets.
10. Never throw a firework.
11. Keep pets indoors.
12. Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.