Fireworks and Burns First Aid – Tips from Worsley Training

How to stay safe this Halloween & Bonfire Night

Trick or Treat?

Choose your fancy dress costumes wisely as they are not usually flame resistant.  Think back to the horrific moment a few years ago when Claudia Winkleman’s then 8-year-old daughter’s witch costume went up in flames as it brushed against a candle inside a Halloween pumpkin.  Matilda was left with severe burns on her leg as the nylon material kept re-igniting and re-burning.  The problem was that it didn’t cinder but remained hot, so became sticky and melted onto her skin.  The surgeon who treated her, Jorge Leon-Villapalos, warned of a “mini-epidemic” of similar accidents happening each Halloween. He also said “If you take into consideration that in any child, the thickness of the skin is much less than in any adult, you need a much smaller thermal injury over a reduced period of time to cause a larger amount of damage.” 

Matilda’s accident has led to further tightening of the flammability standard of children’s Halloween costumes, but the Watchdog programme’s investigations claim that safety testing is still not stringent enough. 

One final tip is that when you are trick or treating, always hold small children’s hands as much as possible, as even if you are super careful they may get a fright from something particularly ghoulish that jumps out at them, which may cause them to jump back into a naked flame.


The fun and excitement of Fireworks and Bonfire Night are on the horizon, but we must remember to stay vigilant.  History has proven time and again that prevention is always better than cure, so here are a few of my top tips to stay safe this autumn, followed by how to deal with burn injuries if things don’t quite go to plan!

Fireworks always provoke wonderful reactions when lighting up the sky. Many people attend events run by professionals to high safety standards, but if you plan to light your own fireworks here are some top tips to remember:

  • Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop and check they conform to British standards
  • Have a first aid kit, bucket of sand, plenty of water and a fire blanket to hand
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and never in your pocket
  • Only use one firework at a time
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length and stand well back
  • Remember to keep cigarettes, candles and other flames away from any fireworks
  • Finally, never return to a firework that’s already been lit – stay well clear!

Sparklers are mesmerising and children love to wave them around writing their name in the air.  But sparklers burn very powerfully and the metal handle heats up dramatically once they are lit.  So be sensible and always ensure that children are wearing gloves when holding them and once they have burnt out place them in a bucket of sand. Finally make sure you don’t let anyone touch them until they are completely cool.

Have fun, take care of your loved ones and fingers crossed the weather stays dry!

What to do if someone does get burnt?

Unfortunately, as careful as we are, accidents do happen.
If someone does get burnt, immediately remove them from the heat source.  If you see any clothing on fire then tell the person to drop to the ground and smother any flames that you see with a blanket or coat. Then get them to roll around with their hands protecting their face to make sure that all flames are fully extinguished.
  • Do not try to remove any clothing that has become stuck to the burnt area of skin, as that could cause more damage and injury.
  • Once they are safe, flush the affected area either directly or through any burnt clothing with cool running water for at least 20 minutes until the burnt area has completely cooled down (this has increased recently from 10 minutes).
  • Do not use very cold water as you won’t be able to hold the skin under it for long enough as it will become painfully numb. As long as the water is cooler than the burn it will be drawing out the heat.
  • If there is no water available, any harmless liquid can be used instead. Critically though do not use any lotions, ointments or creams, or believe any old wives’ tales such as using butter to soothe a burn. These will make the burn worse and do more damage than good.
  • Once the burn has cooled down, cover the area with a non-sticky dressing such as cling film, a clean plastic bag or a non-fluffy bandage.
  • Then seek medical attention depending on how serious the burn is.  If you are not sure, you can either call 111 for advice, take the casualty to A&E with cold wet cloths over the cling film to keep it cool, or call 999 for an ambulance.
  • Sometimes blisters will form and if so, please don’t pop them, as that will open up the area to infection and make it very painful. The good news is that blisters will vanish by themselves in a few days.

Upcoming public first aid courses

Click here for our upcoming courses including:

Emergency First Aid at Work or Basic Life Support including defibrillator training 

Paediatric First Aid

Student Feedback

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. You are a great teacher and made it a really fun and informative environment. I can even remember lots the next day, so I’m thrilled!

Katie Reeves, Emergency First Aid at Work

Recently did this first aid course. Louise is am absolutely amazing teacher,very patient,calm & informative, helping you get through it all comfortably & feeling much more confident in what to do in emergency situations. Thankyou so much.

Lisa Ann O’Neill, Bringing First Aid to Life

Very informative, very thorough! The four hours flew by. Louise is and excellent teacher. Highly recommend!

Nancy Jean


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