Additional firework and bonfire related calls this time of year add to the number of incidents being dealt with by crews and call handlers.
Burns and smoke inhalation from fireworks and bonfires can be serious, particularly for those with respiratory conditions like asthma.
Duncan Robertson, Paramedic and Assistant Director for Clinical Development at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “When used properly, fireworks are generally safe and accidents are avoidable, but if precautions aren’t followed, it can end in painful injuries for too many people.
“As we head into the weekend, crews will be responding to patients with injuries ranging from minor burns to more serious, life-threatening conditions.
“We want everyone to have fun, but always recommend that people go along to professionally organised public firework displays.
“If you’re planning to host your own event, please ensure that safety is your main priority so that everyone is aware of dangers and takes the necessary precautions.”
Here are some crucial safety reminders for a secure and enjoyable Bonfire Night:
Choose professional displays - Opt for attending professionally organised firework displays, as they are a safer option for everyone.
If treating a burn, follow these steps
- Move the person away from the heat source immediately.
- Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 20 minutes—avoid using ice, iced water, creams or greasy substances.
- Remove clothing or jewellery near the burnt area, but do not disturb anything stuck to the skin.
- Keep the person warm with a blanket without rubbing against the burn.
- Cover the burn with cling film or a clean plastic bag and use painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief.
Asthma management tips
- Carry your inhaler to quickly address any asthma symptoms triggered by smoky air.
- Ensure your companions are aware of what to do and when to seek help if your asthma symptoms worsen.
- Maintain a safe distance from the bonfire and be mindful of wind direction to avoid excessive smoke inhalation.
- Use a scarf to cover your mouth and nose in cold weather, helping to warm up the air before breathing it in.
- Consider staying indoors if fireworks have previously triggered your asthma, especially if air quality is poor.
- For additional advice on managing asthma and staying safe during firework displays, visit the Asthma page on the NHS 111 Wales website.
Respect emergency workers - Show respect and consideration for emergency workers on Bonfire Night, recognising their dedication to ensuring public safety.
Duncan said: “We know that calls to emergency services increase around Bonfire Night, with reports of injuries, anti-social behaviour and unsupervised fires.
“Our ambulance crews are there to help people, but they can’t fight for someone’s life if they’re fighting for theirs.
“Our crews might have no choice but to leave a scene if their personal safety is compromised, and this isn’t helpful for anyone, least of all the patient.
“A split-second act of violence can have a devastating and long-term impact on our staff, both physically and emotionally.
“The debt of gratitude we owe to our emergency workers has never been greater, so now more than ever, we’re asking the public to work with us, not against us.
“Let's make this Bonfire Night a memorable and safe occasion by prioritising our well-being and the well-being of others.
“Enjoy the festivities responsibly and have a fantastic Bonfire Night.”