Monday 2nd November – 9.30am – John Hawker.
It should be a time of excitement for all, but fireworks and bonfires result in serious life changing injuries for people every single year. West Midlands Ambulance Service is urging the public to stay safe this bonfire night and have fun instead of a lifetime of regret.
WMAS Area Manager, Martyn Scott, said: “Unfortunately despite the many warnings issued at this time of year our crews are sadly all too familiar with people who have injured themselves in firework incidents. I am in no doubt that there are people sat at home today still suffering the effects of burn injuries or having lost their fingers after accidents in previous years.
“Last year crews dealt with numerous incidents including hand injuries caused to people who were holding fireworks when they exploded, burns from bonfires after simple slips and trips, to the more extreme cases where members of the public used petrol or other accelerants on bonfires; resulting in the fire flashing back and causing serious burns, which can and will scar for life.
“In most cases we know that they could have so easily been avoided by simply using common sense. It appears that people don’t realise they are holding an explosive device in their hands when they light a firework; it is always alarming when people are surprised that they get injured.
Paramedic and training officer, Krystle O’Brien said, “We understand that accidents occur, but we would prefer people to try and prevent accidents rather than put themselves in danger with irresponsible actions.
“If someone does suffer a serious burn injury from fireworks or a bonfire, the best course of action is to get the area of the burn under some cold water as soon as possible. If the burn or injury is too severe for the patient to be taken to hospital with a cold compress in place then call 999. However, please remember that 999 calls are prioritised by severity and all life threatening calls will take priority.
“As health care professionals we can use specialist burn packs to treat severe injuries and pain relief if necessary. Recovering from burn injuries is not an easy process and treatment such as skin grafts are painful, and rarely fully cover injuries meaning people are often scarred for life. We would ask people of all ages, is it really worth it?”
West Midlands Ambulance Service would like everyone to enjoy the forthcoming week and to stay safe; why not think about attending an organised firework display where possible?
If you are planning on holding a party at home, please ensure you do so safely and follow the Firework Code* at all times.
Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 – it means they conform to British safety Standards
- Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box.
- Follow the instructions on each firework.
- Light at arm’s length, using a taper.
- Stand well back.
- Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
- Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
- Always supervise children around fireworks.
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
- Never give sparklers to a child under five.
- Keep pets indoors.
Useful things to have on hand at Bonfire parties:
- Torch for checking instructions
- Bucket of water
- Eye protection and gloves
- Bucket of soft earth to stick fireworks in
- Suitable supports for Catherine Wheels, proper launchers for rockets
- A sparkler reaches a temperature of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius – that’s 20 times the boiling point of water. Three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blow-torch
- A rocket can reach 150 miles an hour
- A firework shell can go as high as 200 metres
- The highest number of firework-related injuries happen at family or private parties
The most common injuries are to hands followed by eyes