Remember, remember first aid this November

First aid volunteers at football

As the nation prepares for bonfire celebrations this November, check out our firework fan’s guide to staying safe.

This year, our committed volunteers will be attending more than 750 fireworks events across England, so that anyone who needs first aid gets it quickly.

But, injuries are much more likely to happen at private parties, where trained volunteers won’t be on hand to help.

Every year, around 1,000 people visit A&E with a firework-related injury in the four weeks around the 5th November.

The most common injuries our volunteers treat around Bonfire Night are burns and debris in the eye - from bonfires, fireworks or sparklers; scalds - from hot drinks, and smoke inhalation. With some basic first aid skills, everyone can be prepared to treat these injuries – they’re simple to learn, but can have a big impact.

St John Ambulance training officer Clive James said: ‘We want people to enjoy Bonfire Night but without ending up in hospital. That’s why we’ve put together our Firework Fans First Aid Guide.’

Firework Fans’ First Aid Guide

Burns or scalds

If someone’s got a burn or scald:

  • Run it under cold water for at least 10 minutes. You need to completely cool their skin to prevent pain, scarring or further damage
  • If the burn is on a child, or if you think it’s a serious burn (for example, if it’s deep, larger than the size of their hand, or on the face, hands or feet) call 999/112 for an ambulance
  • Remove any jewellery or clothing near the burn (unless they’re stuck to it)
  • Don’t pop any blisters or apply creams – this can make it worse
  • Once cooled, cover the burn with cling film or a plastic bag
  • If necessary, treat them for shock , by laying them down with their legs raised and supported above the level of their heart

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
  • 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

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 999/112 for an ambulance.