Bonfire night first aid
Every year, around 1,000 people visit A&E with a
firework-related injury in the four weeks around 5 November.
The most common injuries around Bonfire Night are burns and
debris in the eye - from bonfires, fireworks or sparklers; scalds -
from hot drinks, and smoke inhalation. Our first aid tips are
simple to learn and will help you be prepared to treat any of these
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
- • 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
- • 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
- • Once cooled, cover the burn with cling film or a plastic
- • If necessary, treat them for shock , by laying them down with
their legs raised and supported above the level of their
More information about burns and scalds
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
- • Then take or send them straight to hospital.
More information about eye injuries
If someone’s inhaled smoke fumes:
- • Move them away from the smoke so they can breathe in some
- • Help them sit down in a comfortable position and loosen any
tight clothing around their neck to help them breathe
- • If they don’t recover quickly, call 999/112 for an