Firework First Aid

St John Ambulance is urging everyone to learn some basic first aid skills ahead of this years Bonfire Night.

Volunteers from the charity will be attending firework events across the country so that anyone who needs treating gets it quickly. However, injuries are more likely to occur at private parties.

Figures from accident and emergency departments show that 4,506 people across England visited A&E having suffered a firework related injury in 2014 and 2015.

But with some basic first aid skills, everyone can be prepared to help in a firework first aid emergency.

Simon Dunn at St John Ambulance said, "We are keen that people enjoy Bonfire Night but don't end their celebrations in hospital. Our volunteers will be on hand to provide expert first aid assistance at public displays across the region but if you are organising a private event, you need to know what to do if there is a first aid emergency."

The most common injuries at Bonfire Night gatherings are burns, from fireworks, fires or sparklers; debris in the eye and smoke inhalation.


Firework First Aid

If someone has 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, e.g. if it's deeper, larger than the size of their hand, or on the face, hands or feet. Call 999 for an ambulance.

  • Remove and jewellery or clothing near the burn, unless stuck to the skin.

  • Do not pop any blisters or apply ice, cream or gel - 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.


If someone has debris 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 also doesn't work, don't touch anything that's stuck - cover it with a clean dressing or non-fluffy material

  • Then take them straight to hospital


If someone has 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 for an ambulance