Bonfire Night Burn Injuries: How to Prevent and Treat Them

With Halloween and Guy Fawkes night just behind us and the end-of-year festivities well and truly on the way, the vibrant colours and familiar sparks of fireworks are becoming a common sight in towns the length and breadth of the country.

However, with the allure and entertainment of these spectacular illuminations come the very real dangers of burn injuries. In fact, NHS England statistics show that there were 116 hospital admissions of people injured by fireworks in 2020/2021 alone.

Still, the use of fireworks can make both national and personal events all the more unique, and by adhering to the correct safety measures, you and your family can enjoy the rush of excitement triggered by these colourful displays without putting yourselves in harm’s way. Keep reading to learn our top tips for preventing and treating burn injuries.

The popularity of fireworks in the UK

For hundreds of years, people around the world have used fireworks to mark special occasions. Nowadays, they are extremely popular in the UK and elsewhere at events such as weddings, public holidays, and, of course, Bonfire Nights.

Indeed, the country’s cost of living crisis has contributed to a significant increase in fireworks sales for use in private gardens due to large events being called off in response to budget pressures in local council areas. This dramatic rise in inexperienced fireworks users can potentially increase the number of injuries and put added pressure on emergency services on occasions such as Bonfire Night, Halloween and New Year’s Eve. 

Safety around bonfires and fireworks

When it comes to Bonfires and fireworks, you should exercise a high level of caution and take the appropriate measures to minimise the risk of accidents. Where possible, opt to attend an event organised by your local council over hosting your own fireworks display. This way, you can relax and enjoy the festivities with the peace of mind that strict safety measures are in place.

If you’d rather hold an event in your own garden, here are our top tips for preventing burn injuries during the celebrations:

  1. Let your neighbours know your plans. Not only is this an act of courtesy, given the inevitable noise your fireworks will make, but it will allow them to keep their children and pets out of harm’s way.
  2. On that note, keeping any pets in your own household comfortable and safe inside and with the curtains drawn is the best way to protect them from harm. Even animals who don’t show physical signs of stress may become spooked by the sound or sight of fireworks, which could cause them to run away or put themselves in danger.
  3. Make sure you have an emergency water supply close by, such as a hose or a few buckets. This will ensure you are ready to take action immediately if any accidents occur.
  4. Practice holding sparklers correctly as a family before you light them, and make sure everyone has dressed appropriately and is wearing gloves.
  5. Always read the safety instructions on fireworks and sparkler packaging. Buy from a reputable supplier and ensure the box is marked with a ‘CE’- the legal European safety standard.

How to treat burns

When lighting fireworks or a bonfire with a group of friends or family, it’s essential that everyone is aware of the risks involved and knows what to do in case of an emergency, including children. 

For extreme scalds or deep burns, practice caution by visiting your closest Accident and Emergency department. In the event of non-severe burn injuries or scalds, you should take the following first aid steps:

  1. The first (and most critical) action to take is to assess the level of danger involved, remove the affected individual from the area and either extinguish the flames with water or enclose them with a blanket.
  2. Remove all clothing and accessories near the burn or that could interfere with it, except for anything clinging to the affected area — this could be painful or dangerous to detach.
  3. Run cool water over the burn for at least 20 minutes and, if possible, as soon as the injury has occurred,
  4. Loosely cover the burn with cling film to give it space to swell and heal.
  5. If the injury isn’t severe, take an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve the pain.
  6. Keep the scalded area raised and encourage the affected individual to take it easy for the next few days.

By following the steps outlined above, you can enjoy all the nostalgia of your next Bonfire Night or fireworks display while minimising the risk of burn injuries.

Acquisition Aesthetics is a gold-standard aesthetics training provider for doctors, dentists and nurses. We offer clinic-quality injectable treatments to our model patients at a fraction of the price. To find out more about our services or speak to a team member, browse our website or get in touch by emailing or calling 0203 514 8757.

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