Tuesday 25 October, 2022: Firework filled festivities are often great fun for adults and children, but they can be prone to accidents and injuries.  

St John Ambulance’s Medical Director, Dr Lynn Thomas said: “If you’re celebrating over the next few weeks for Diwali and Bonfire Night by lighting candles, sparklers, fireworks or even bonfires - please enjoy yourself, but do so safely.  

"Our volunteers will be out and about at events in your community, but it’s always worth brushing up on your fire-related first aid knowledge so you’re prepared just in case something does go wrong. Some simple first aid techniques like knowing how to cool a burn or remove cinders from the eye, can make all the difference in helping you celebrate safely.” 

She added: “I’d encourage everyone to be mindful of their neighbours this year too. As it’s not just our pets that fireworks can sometimes upset – it can affect everyone differently, especially those suffering from mental health conditions. So just make sure to look out for one another.” 

Over the next few weeks, almost a thousand trained St John Ambulance volunteers will be supporting at over 140 Diwali and Bonfire Night events across the country - including Plymouth Bonfire Night on the Hoe, Alton Towers and the Tar Barrels event in Ottery St Mary. 

The charity has shared some important fire-related first aid advice for those looking to enjoy the celebrations.

Firework First Aid 

Burns or scalds 

If someone’s got a burn or scald: 

  • Move the person away from the heat and danger 
  • Start cooling the injury as soon as possible. Place the burn or scald under cool water for 20 minutes minimum  
  • If the burn is deep, or larger than the person’s hand, on their face, hands or feet, or the casualty is a child - call 999 immediately  
  • Remove jewellery and clothing around the area, unless stuck to the burn 
  • Cover the burn loosely, lengthways with kitchen film wrap to help prevent infection and keep it clean 
  • Don’t burst blisters 
  • Monitor and treat for shock if necessary 
  • Always seek further medical help if you are concerned about a change in someone's condition, or if the casualty is a child. Call 111 for urgent medical advice, or 999 in an emergency. 

Debris in the eye 

If someone’s got something in their eye: 

  • Tell them not to rub it, so they don’t make it worse or cause more damage 
  • Pour clean water over their eye to wash out what’s in there and/or to cool the burn
  • 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, however as not every hospital has an eye department, ring 111 to locate the most appropriate facility to go to 

Smoke inhalation 

If someone’s inhaled smoke fumes: 

  • 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 for an ambulance. Keep them calm whilst they are waiting