Co-op and St John Ambulance provide Bonfire Night first aid advice

A sparkler on bonfire night

In preparation for firework displays around 5 November, the Co-operative will be putting up posters in their stores directing members of the public to our website for handy first aid tips.

St John Ambulance is reminding people to take extra care on Bonfire Night and when attending or organising firework and bonfire displays.

We are issuing first aid advice to enable people to be the difference between life and death, should an accident happen.

The most common injuries sustained on Guy Fawkes Night are burns, eg. from picking up a hot sparkler, and injuries to the eye, caused when people look up at the fireworks. Here are some top tips on how to care for someone who may have a bad burn or sore eyes:


  • Holding the affected area under cold water for at least ten minutes will cool the burn down and help to prevent scarring
  • Burns covering an area larger than the palm of the casualty’s hand will require professional medical attention and so the casualty will need to see a doctor or go to hospital
  • Major burns should be treated with water and in most cases an ambulance will need to be called to get urgent medical help on the way
  • Burns must never be treated with lotions, ointments or creams and adhesive dressings must not be applied to the affected area
  • To avoid infection the wound can be covered with any non-fluffy material such as cloth, a clean plastic bag or kitchen film.

Eye injuries

  • Stand beside or just behind the injured person. Gently separate their eyelids with your forefinger and thumb and ask them to look right, left, up and down while you examine the eye
  • If you can see a foreign object, wash it out by pouring clear water from a glass or jug or using sterile eye wash. Place a towel around their shoulders and pour from the inner corner of the eye
  • If unsuccessful then try lifting the object off with the damp corner of a clean tissue
  • If you still cannot remove the object, seek medical help.

Most large organised events will have first aiders on site, many of whom will be St John Ambulance volunteers, ready to respond if needed. Our volunteers will be on duty at bonfires and firework displays across the country.

Clive James, SJA Training Officer said: ‘Bonfire Night can be so much fun for people of all ages but can easily be spoiled by injuries. It’s useful for everyone to know some basic first aid so if an accident does happen you will be prepared, or visit the first aiders on duty if you’re at a public event. It’s important to get prompt treatment as first aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.’

First aid advice can be downloaded by members of the public via our free first aid app available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone users.