Bonfire Night is the night we remember the actions of Guy Fawkes when he and his co-conspirators tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. That’s why the night is also sometimes referred to as Guy Fawkes’ Night. If he were here today, he would no doubt warn all of us of the dangers of explosives, since this is what fireworks are – albeit designed to create impressive displays. While common firework injuries don’t occur that often, figures collected between 1997 and 2005 show between 831 and 1,362 injuries occurred each year between those dates.
Fortunately, injuries are rare, especially when you consider how many people attend firework displays each year. However, common firework injuries can fall into certain categories, as we shall see here.
These must surely be among the most common firework injuries, and often they can potentially happen if people do not follow proper safety rules regarding fireworks. Rockets, air bombs and even the very innocent looking sparklers were all responsible for the greatest number of firework injuries in 2005. You simply cannot be too careful around fireworks, whether you are attending an organised display or letting off a few fireworks in your back garden.
Always make sure your children and any other youngsters who may be present stay well clear of fireworks. If you use sparklers, make sure they know how to hold them safely and how to prevent any injuries occurring. Burns can leave scars for life, and that is a hard thing to live with, especially for young children who are still growing.
Burns may present with an assortment of symptoms, depending on how serious they are. These may include red skin that might peel, or blisters in more severe cases. If the burn is very bad, the skin can turn white or take on a charred appearance. Avoidance is better than dealing with a burn when it happens. Fortunately, most people do follow safety advice and only a few of those celebrating Bonfire Night will end up with the most common firework injuries.
Injuries to the hands and face
Common firework injuries can involve falls, as we will see in just a moment. An awkward fall could potentially mean you injure your hands as you put them out to try and break your fall. However, they can also be burned from sparklers or other fireworks, particularly if you pick them up when you shouldn’t, i.e. after they have been lit. Always follow the Fireworks Code to reduce the odds of anything like this happening.
Eye injuries and other facial injuries are also possible if something explodes and debris is caught in the eye, or damages the skin on the face. This may create burns, or it could mean debris is embedded in the skin. It pays to know some fireworks first aid so you know what to do if someone nearby suffers one of the common firework injuries that could potentially happen every year.
Slips, trips and falls
Many organised displays take place in large open areas such as fields. The reasons for this are obvious – it means the fireworks are let off in a large space not surrounded by traffic, houses or anything else that might catch fire or be damaged if something went wrong. This alone reduces the chances of the most common firework injuries occurring.
However, you must also think of the time of year. It’s likely to be wet or damp, and the ground could be frozen or slippery with mud. Large organised displays attract hundreds of people, and when everyone walks over the same ground, it can create potential slip hazards thanks to the slippery mud or ice present.
This means slips, trips and falls are always a possibility. If you are carrying a sparkler at the time, you could be at risk of sprains or broken bones as well as burns. Thankfully, most people wear sensible shoes and take great care when moving around. However, you could be unlucky and incur common firework injuries that are often experienced in this instance.
Between 2014 and 2015, 4,506 people attended an A&E department having suffered from firework-related injuries. You should always seek medical help for these injuries, because it can be difficult to know how serious they are. Be alert for someone going into shock when they have suffered a nasty injury. If the injury is serious, always call an ambulance; otherwise, go to the nearest accident and emergency department so the injury can be assessed and treated.
While accidents can and do happen, we’ve seen that many can be prevented on Guy Fawkes’ Night. Simple safety measures can reduce the odds of anything going wrong. That’s mainly why many people go to organised displays rather than letting off their own fireworks at home. However, as we have seen, this still doesn’t completely get rid of the chances someone might have an accident.
Can you make a claim for common firework injuries?
You could if negligence was involved. Was an organised display lacking in proper health and safety measures? Did someone else let off a firework near you that caused you or your child or another member of your family to suffer a common fireworks injury? As we have seen, these injuries can be severe, and they may leave scars for life. They can also leave mental scars as you try to come to terms with what happened, and with how upsetting and frightening the experience was.
Accident Advice Helpline has spoken to other unfortunate people who have suffered from similar injuries in the past. There is a three-year time limit on making claims relating to personal injuries, except when a child was involved. In this instance, the period begins from their 18th birthday, not the day the accident happened on. So, to find out if a claim is possible, ring 0800 689 5659 today.