Safety: Experts sound alert as fireworks start to fizz

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St John Ambulance is reminding people to take extra care as the county gets ready to celebrate Bonfire Night.

The charity’s volunteers will be ready to deal with medical emergencies at organised events across the region on November 5.

St John county executive officer Steve Nicholson said: ‘Our fully trained volunteers will be on hand at these events to deal with any medical emergencies but many people will be holding their own celebrations in their back gardens.

‘In this case it’s vital that they know what simple action to take to be the difference between life and death and minimize the effects of serious injuries should an accident happen.’

The most common injuries sustained on Guy Fawkes Night are burns from, for example, picking up a hot sparkler, and injuries to the eye.

Here are St John Ambulance’s top tips on how to care for someone who may have a bad burn or an eye injury.

Burns

l Holding the affected area under cold water for at least ten minutes will cool the burn down and help to prevent scarring

l To avoid infection the wound can then be covered with any non-fluffy material such as cloth, a clean plastic bag or kitchen film.

l Anything which will constrict the area, such as wedding rings and watches, should be removed immediately to avoid compromising the blood flow to the injured part

l Burns covering an area larger than the palm of the casualty’s hand will require professional medical attention and so the casualty will need to go to hospital as a matter of urgency

l Burns must never be treated with lotions, ointments or creams, and adhesive dressings must not be applied to the affected area

Eye injuries

l Stand beside or just behind the injured person. Gently separate their eyelids with your forefinger and thumb and ask them to look right, left, up and down while you examine the eye

l If you can see a foreign object, wash it out by pouring clear water from a glass or jug or using sterile eye wash. Place a towel around their shoulders and pour from the inner corner of the eye

l If unsuccessful then try lifting the object off with the damp corner of a clean tissue

l If you still cannot remove the object, seek medical help.

Steve added: ‘Bonfire Night can be so much fun for people of all ages but can so easily, and quickly, be spoiled by injuries.

‘It’s useful for everyone to know some basic first aid so if an accident does happen you will be prepared, or visit the first aiders on duty if you’re at a public event. It’s important to get prompt treatment as first aid can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.’

First aid advice can be downloaded by members of the public via St John Ambulance’s iPhone application available from iTunes. For details of community first aid courses in your area visit sja.org.uk.