November, 2019: Health charity St John Ambulance is urging everyone to learn some basic first aid skills ahead of the Bonfire Night celebrations.   

Volunteers from St John will be out and about, keeping communities safe at hundreds of fireworks events across the country so that anyone who needs first aid gets it quickly. However, injuries are much more likely to occur at private parties, where trained volunteers won’t be on hand to help.   

Thousands of people visit A&E every year for treatment of a firework-related injury but knowing some basic first aid skills to help in a firework first aid emergency can be vital to help prevent avoidable trips to hospital, reducing pressure on the NHS.  

Dr Lynn Thomas, Medical Director at St John Ambulance, said: “Every year, our highly skilled volunteers keep local communities safe at firework events across the country. Attendees at these events can be reassured that expert help is on hand if they need it. 

“For those celebrating at smaller community events, we would urge extreme caution and advise strictly following instructions when handling, lighting and watching fireworks. In those unfortunate instances when someone has a minor injuryknowing what to do and acting fast can prevent further harm and relieve suffering. However, always dial 999 in the case of serious injuries.” 


St John Ambulance’s Firework First Aid 

Burns or scalds 

If someone’s got a burn or scald: 

  • Move the person away from the heat  
  • Place the burn or scald under cool running water for at least 20 minutes  
  • If the burn is to a young child, larger than your hand, on the face, hands or feet, or is a deep burn, call 999 
  • Remove jewellery and clothing around the area, unless stuck to the burn 
  • Cover the burn loosely, lengthways with kitchen film to prevent infection  
  • Don’t burst blisters or apply creams or lotions 
  • Monitor and treat for shock if necessary 
  • Tell them to seek medical advice. 

Cinders in the eye 

If someone’s got something in their eye: 

  • Tell them not to rub it, so they don’t make it worse 
  • Pour clean water over their eye to wash out what’s in there  
  • If this doesn’t work, try to lift the debris out with a damp corner of a clean tissue 
  • If this doesn’t work either, don’t touch anything that’s stuck in their eye – cover it with a clean dressing or non-fluffy material 
  • Then take or send them straight to hospital. 

Smoke inhalation 

If someone’s inhaled smoke: 

  • Move them away from the smoke so they can breathe in some fresh air 
  • Help them sit down in a comfortable position and loosen any tight clothing around their neck to help them breathe normally 
  • If they don’t recover quickly, call 999/112 for an ambulance.