Bonfire Night Safety
Monday 2nd November 2020
Direct Training GB Ltd.
Its December and that means that Bonfire Night here in the UK is coming fast on the horizon. Due to Covid-19 Bonfire Night may be very different this year in the sense that the second lockdown happens on the same day and big events such as bonfires and firework displays will not be taking place but people will still be having personal fireworks in their gardens and using things such as sparklers so bonfire night safety still needs to be taken very seriously.
One of the most common injuries on bonfire night is burns. In todays blog we are going to be discussing how to identify the different types of burns, how to avoid them and how to treat each type of burn.
One of the most common casualties of burns on Bonfire Night is children. It is estimated that this year at least 500 families in the UK will be affected by burn injuries this Bonfire Night.
Where do burns mostly occur?
- It is reported that a large majority of the burn injuries incurred are to areas of the body such as the eyes, the head and the hands. As a result of this, many children who suffer injuries in these places have visible scars for life.
- Most of the burn injuries that happen on Bonfire Night occur at events such as private shows or family displays, with the lockdown in place this Bonfire Night this will be even more prevalent.
-Rocket, air bomb and sparkler incidents are the most common cause of burn injuries.
- Over 550 children under the age of 16 are taken to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night alone
- Statistically, many more boys than girls are injured by fireworks - especially boys aged 12 to 15 year old.
- Sparklers are often seen as a relatively harmless way of allowing very young children to participate in the thrill of fireworks night - THIS IS NOT TRUE - a sparkler can reach temperatures of 20 times the boiling point of water.
- Never give sparklers to children under the age of five. Make sure that older children wear gloves, hold the sparkler at arm's length and ALWAYS have a bucket of water nearby to put the used sparklers in - hot end down.
If you are hosting your own firework display at home this year here are the do's and don'ts to ensure that you and your family stay safe:
- Always read all of the instructions thoroughly and carefully: The box that the fireworks come in will tell you important things like how far people need to stand back once the firework is lit. Make sure to read all the safety warnings and don't attempt to use the fireworks until you fully understand the instructions.
- Only buy your fireworks from licensed sellers: Most shops such as supermarkets can only sell fireworks on certain dates during the year. If you're buying them at a different time you need to visit a specially licensed shop. It is also illegal for under-18s to purchase or even carry fireworks.
- Keep all pets indoors: Most pets have much stronger hearing that humans so paired with the fact that animals don't understand what fireworks are can be extremely scary to them. Not only does keeping your pet inside and away from any live fireworks reduce potential injuries and accidents it is also much more comforting for them as they feel sheltered and can hide if necessary. Not to mention the fact that the walls of a house slightly reduce the volume of firework bangs and explosions.
- Check that your timing is right: Did you know that you can't let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am? The only exceptions are Bonfire night, when the cut off is midnight, and New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when it's 1am.
- Do not under any circumstance let children help: Children should enjoy the display from a distance and should not be allowed to handle fireworks, tapers and matches. Preferably they should watch from inside the house and away from any fireworks that could go astray. This is one of the reasons why it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase or carry fireworks.
- Do not rush things. It is much better to take some time to plan and make sure that you are confident and comfortable with handling fireworks and that you have the appropriate space in your garden to hold a display.
- Do not give sparklers to children under the age of 5.
- Do not forget that bonfires are dangerous too. If you are having one, keep your bonfire away from buildings, sheds, fences and trees and have water or a hosepipe ready. Tell your neighbours so that they are informed, and never throw anything dangerous onto the fire.
The different types of burns and how to recognize and treat them:
- First-degree burns (superficial burns) are mild compared to other burns. They cause pain and reddening of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). The symptoms include:
- Red, painful skin
- No blisters
- Second-degree burns (partial thickness burns) affect the epidermis and the dermis (lower layer of skin). They cause pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. The symptoms include:
- Red, painful skin
- Third-degree burns (full thickness burns) go through the dermis and affect deeper tissues. They result in white or blackened, charred skin that may be numb. The symptoms include:
- White, black, deep red or charred skin
- May be painful but could be numb
- Fourth-degree burns go even deeper than third-degree burns and can affect your muscles and bones. Nerve endings are also damaged or destroyed, so there's no feeling in the burned area. The symptoms include:
- No feeling in the area
- Destroyed skin tissue, fat, muscle and possibly bone
Depending on how bad the burn is, some people may go into shock. Symptoms of shock may include pale and clammy skin, weakness, bluish lips and fingernails, and a drop in alertness.
First- and second-degree burns usually get better on their own, but third- and fourth-degree burns need medical attention right away. Call your doctor if a second-degree burn is deep and doesn't start to feel better soon.
Burn treatment depends on the type of burn:
- First-degree burns can usually be treated with skin care products like aloe vera cream or an antibiotic ointment and pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Second-degree burns may be treated with an antibiotic cream or other creams or ointments prescribed by a doctor.
- Third-degree and fourth-degree burns may need more intensive treatments such as intravenous (IV) antibiotics to prevent infection or IV fluids to replace fluids lost when skin was burned. They may also need skin grafting or the use of synthetic skin.
- If the burn is serious, you'll need to call 999. There are some things you can do until medical professionals get there:
- Get the person away from the cause of the burn. If the cause was something electrical, make sure the power is off before getting close to them.
- Check to see if the person is breathing. If not, start rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) if you know how.
- Take off anything that might keep them from moving freely and easily, like jewelry or a belt.
- Keep the burned area raised above heart level if you can.
- Keep a close eye out for signs of shock, like fainting or dizziness, pale skin, and shallow breathing. If you notice any of these, try raising their feet and legs a bit but don't move them. If they start to throw up, turn them on their side.