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How can I stay safe when using fireworks?

Posted by Be Well

How can I stay safe when using fireworks?
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Festivals and events like New Year's Eve traditionally involve a firework display, featuring all the usually suspects - rockets, air bombs, roman candles, catherine wheels; the list could go on and on.

For kids and adults alike, a firework display is often an excuse for fun and frolics. So let's make sure the festivities go with a bang - but without any burns!

Remember, remember

If you prefer to buy your own fireworks and have all the family over, remember to take extra precaution for everyone's safety.

Don't become another statistic - take the necessary time out to prepare, and follow our safety tips for a fantastic night.

Firework dos

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Before buying any fireworks always check whether they are for outdoor, indoor or display use.
  • Keep all fireworks in a sealed tin, and only use them one at a time. Always leave fireworks in the tin you brought them in until you're ready for the next one.
  • Read the instructions thoroughly, this is usually best done before you start your party, when the light is still good.
  • Re-check that you know what you're doing before lighting the firework.
  • Light fireworks at an arms length, using a firework lighter or taper.

Firework don'ts

  • It's illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy most types of firework, or to possess fireworks in a public place.
  • Don't let more than one person be in charge of lighting fireworks.
  • Never drink alcohol if you are in charge of lighting the fireworks.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Once you've lit a firework, never go back to it if it doesn't go off as it could explode in your face.

Sparkler safety

Young children love fireworks, and usually want to play with sparklers. However, sparklers can be dangerous if they're not used safely. Don't forget that sparklers are still fireworks and they get very hot - people get injured due to sparklers.

To keep your kids safe, make sure they wear gloves and hold sparklers at an arms length. Don't let them wave sparklers about near other people in case they burn them.

It's best to keep an eye on children at all times while sparklers are burning down. Once they have burnt down put any used sparklers in a bucket of sand or cold water.

Never give sparklers to children under the age of five, and don't hold a baby while you're holding a sparkler in case they try to reach out and grab it or the sparks get too close to their skin or clothing.

Bonfire time

If you're having a bonfire, make sure it's well away from trees and fences, as well as other flammable materials such as petrol and wooden sheds. Be careful where you set up the bonfire - you don't want to set fire to the neighbors' properties either!

Keep bonfires away from overhead power lines, and make sure you have buckets of sand or water to hand just in case.

Before lighting the bonfire, check that there are no animals (or children!) inside, and make sure spectators are standing at a safe distance.

Never use petrol or paraffin on a bonfire, and make sure the fire is completely out or it could flare up later and the surroundings are safe before you leave it. Use water to douse the last burning embers.

Stay safe

Even if you take precautions, accidents do occasionally happen.

If there is a severe burn to the face or mouth, or if the person is short of breath, call 911 and ask for an ambulance.

If the burn is larger than the person's hand they'll need medical attention. Go to your local emergency room.

You can deal with minor burns at home:

  • Take off jewelry and clothing around the burn then cool as quickly as possible by running under cold water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Cover the burn with a clean, non-sticky dressing and don't apply lotions or creams.
  • If the burn is painful, a painkiller such as acetaminophen will help. If your child is under 12 they must only have infant acetaminophen. Aspirin shouldn't be given to under 16s due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome is particularly harmful to the liver and brain and can be fatal.
  • Never interfere with the burn or break any blisters. Most minor burns will heal in 7-10 days but if it doesn't heal or gets worse, it may be infected so it is best to see your doctor.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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