Innovation and enterprise blog

04 November 2016

Enjoying Fireworks Safely with First Aid for Life

First Aid for Life is an award-winning first aid training business. Their trainers are highly experienced medical and emergency services professionals offering a full range of practical and online first aid training, tailored entirely to your needs.

Having built a solid foundation for their business, they joined the Innovating for Growth programme four years ago and have since grown their business at a consistent rate of 30% per year.

Their founder, Emma Hammett, has provided us with some great safety tips to ensure you and your family enjoy this bonfire weekend to its fullest.

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Fireworks

  • Every year, over 1,000 people are injured by fireworks in Britain during the four week period around 5 November
  • 60% of these accidents occur at home or at private parties
  • Around 400 injuries involve children under the age of 13. *

*based on 1994 statistics

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is at an organised display. If you are going to buy your own fireworks to set off at home, check to ensure they conform to British Standard (BS 7114; 1998) and that they are suitable for the size of your garden.

At a minimum, you should always have at hand:

  • an appropriately stocked first aid kit
  • a bucket of sand, easy access to plenty of water, and a fire blanket
  • a bottle of sterile saline to irrigate eyes if sparks are blown into them.

Always follow the Fireworks Code and never return to a firework that has not gone off and keep everyone, children in particular, well clear of any danger.

Sparklers

  • Sparklers get up to six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil or as hot as a welder’s torch and can, therefore cause serious damage
  • They are not suitable for children under five
  • Sparklers should be lit one at a time and you should always wear gloves when using them
  • Supervise children and ensure they remain a safe distance from others.
  • Be particularly careful with children in fancy dress as costumes are rarely fire resistant.

No matter how careful or prepared you are, injuries can still happen. The following first aid advice covers the most common eventualities.

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
  • 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. All deep burns of any size will require urgent hospital treatment
  • Once the burn has been cooled for at least 15 minutes, the burn can be covered with cling film, a burns dressing or if the burn is on a hand, it can be inserted into a sterile plastic bag
  • Never rush to dress a burn. The most important treatment is to cool it under cool running water
  • All burns should be assessed by medical professionals.

If clothing is on fire:

  • stop the affected person panicking or running – any movement or breeze will fan the flames
  • 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.

Severe burns

A severe burn exposes the casualty to a greater risk of infection, hypothermia and shock.

  • Instruct a helper to dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance
  • Start cooling the burn immediately under cool running water. Use a shower or hose if the burns are large. Keep cooling the burn while waiting for professional help to arrive. The area should be cooled for at least 10 minutes. Ensure you are cooling the burn and not the casualty, keep areas that are not burnt as warm and dry as possible
  • Make the casualty as comfortable as possible, if appropriate, lie them down and elevate their legs
  • Whilst cooling, remove any constricting items (the area may swell), such as jewellery or clothing, from the affected area unless they are stuck to the burn. Wear sterile disposable gloves if they are available.

With all burns, never:

  • touch the burn
  • use lotions, ointments and creams
  • use adhesive dressings
  • pop or puncture blisters.

Sprains and strains

It is easy to sprain or strain something by falling or tripping over in the dark. There may be pain and tenderness with swelling and difficulty moving the injured area.

  • Advise the casualty to sit or lie down
  • Support the injured limb in a comfortable position
  • Apply a wrapped ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling
  • Apply comfortable support to the injury by surrounding the area with a thick layer of padding, such as cotton wool, and secure with a bandage
  • Raise the injured part to reduce swelling
  • If the pain is severe, or you are worried, send the casualty to hospital, otherwise advise them to rest
  • If the injury does not start to improve, they should request an x-ray to ensure nothing is broken.

Eye injuries

Sparks from fireworks and bonfires can land in eyes and be extremely painful.

  • Wash your hands 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 a sterile eye wash and gently irrigate the eye to remove it
  • Seek medical advice if the casualty is still in pain or discomfort.

It is strongly advised that everyone attends a practical or online first aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

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 regulated and non-regulated first aid e-learning. 

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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