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St John Ambulance supports Premier League’s warning to football fans

Don't go home in a St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance is supporting the Premier League’s campaign to raise awareness amongst football fans of the dangers of using flares and other pyrotechnics at matches.

Flares contain harmful substances and chemicals that can burn at temperatures of 1600°C, the melting point of steel, and cause permanent disfigurement. The campaign also warns about the use of smoke bombs, which burn at high temperatures. They pose a high risk for those with asthma or breathing difficulties, as well as panic in a tightly packed crowd.

Even though it is illegal to take pyrotechnic materials to matches, the Premier League, Football League and Football Conference have seen the number of incidents involving pyrotechnics rise with 172 happening last season and 96 accounted for up to the end of October 2013.

To help educate football supporters about this issue, posters parodying popular football chants such as ‘Don’t go home in a St John Ambulance’ instead of ‘You’re going home in a St John’s Ambulance’ are being used throughout football clubs.

Campaign highlights dangers of flares and pyrotechnics

St John Ambulance is urging football fans to take the Premier League’s message seriously so match-goers can enjoy the game safely.

Alan Weir, Head of Medical Services at St John Ambulance, said: ‘We know that St John Ambulance volunteers have treated people for burns and smoke inhalation caused by flares at several football grounds. These cases could have led to disfigurement or other serious injuries so we’re advising fans to seek prompt emergency help should they come into contact with a flare, to help prevent their injuries from getting worse.

‘Our volunteers are trained and equipped with life-saving skills to help those who need it. We urge fans to stop using flares and think about the safety of those around them.’

Cathy Long, Head of Supporter Services at the Premier League, said: ‘We have launched this education campaign because we want fans to be fully aware of the dangers of pyrotechnics and realise the harm they can cause to other supporters.

‘Pyrotechnics are not innocent fun, they can be very dangerous and there are victims. Fans, club staff and match officials have already been injured, some of them severely, and supporters who bring them are doing so illegally and can face jail and long bans. We don’t want that, we just want everyone to be safe and able to still come to the game.’