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It will soon be Halloween and Bonfire night and with many restrictions still in place in most of the country, lots of people may be considering having fireworks, sparklers, fancy dress parties at home.

You may be wondering what has this got to do with the treatment of burns, as  County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service state there may be restrictions in place but we must still be conscious of the fire risks that may occur at this time of year. Especially with fancy dress items as some can be very flammable, and with capes and accessories, whizzing past an open flame or fire can easily catch fire. They emphasise that in tests some costumes can be engulfed in flames in as little as nine seconds.(1)

Some tips they give is to use battery powered candles instead of real ones in Halloween decorations, not to have any tea lights or candles lit when children are dressed for Halloween, always checking fancy dress clothing displaying an authentic safety kite mark. (1)

For Bonfire night if having fireworks in your own garden, you must consider minimum of eight-meter safety distance from the firework to where the family will watch those fireworks. Think can you safely launch the fireworks from your property are there any sheds, hedges wooden fences or conservatories that the fireworks may damage or set fire to. Again, fireworks that you buy must come up to the British standard. Safety tips include, once you have located a safe area to display your fireworks, fireworks and alcohol don’t mix well so if having alcohol wait until after the fireworks, take fireworks out of the box one at a time and light with the taper that it comes with, never put fireworks in your pocket or light with a lighter. Supervise children when they have sparklers and have the box away from embers from the fireworks.  Make sure children wear gloves when handling a sparkler and that there is a bucket of water for children to extinguish their sparklers, quickly and safely. (2)

Treatment for burns or scalds:

  • Stop the burning getting any worse, by moving the casualty away from the source of heat.
  • Run it under cool water for at least ten minutes or until the pain feels better. (Don’t use ice, creams or gels – they can damage tissues and increase risk of infection).
  • Assess how bad the burn is. It is serious if it is:
    • larger than the size of the casualty’s hand
    • on the face, hands or feet, or
    • a deep burn

If it is serious, call 999 for emergency medical help.

  • Remove any jewellery or clothing near the burn (unless it is stuck to it).
  • Cover the burned area with kitchen cling film or another clean, non-fluffy material, like a clean plastic bag. This will protect from infection.
  • If necessary, treat for shock

I am sure throughout the Halloween and Bonfire night parties and activities, everyone will be safe and sound, but as your safety is important to us at ECG training, we just wanted to give some handy hints and tips to keep everyone happy and healthy.

Written by Lisa Humble (ECG Clinical Development Manager), Wednesday 28th October 2020