Bonfire Safety And How To Treat A Burn

November is bonfire season, so if you are planning to hold an event to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, then it’s important to always consider fire safety. Should a bonfire suddenly become out of control, would you know what to do? In this article, we share some safety tips and treatment advice for burns.

The following three bonfire safety tips will help to protect your family and friends:

  1. Where to build your bonfire: as fire can spread very easily, where and how you build your bonfire is very important. Generally, your bonfire should be a minimum of five times its height from your property and away from any sheds, fences, trees, cables or overhead telephone wires.
  2. What to burn on your bonfire: only burn dry material, as damp wood will create extra smoke. Do not use paraffin or petrol, as this could easily cause the bonfire to get out of control. Never burn plastics, aerosols, tyres, canisters (or anything containing foam or paint), as these are likely to produce toxic fumes and could even explode causing dangerous and avoidable injuries.
  3. Always check your bonfire: prior to burning, make sure that no dangerous or highly flammable materials have found their way onto your bonfire and there are no hidden animals. In case of emergencies, keep a bucket of water or a garden hose close by. After the event and once the bonfire has died down, you can stop it reigniting by spraying the embers with water. Never leave a bonfire unattended.

First aid advice for treating burns

There are various types of burn – sunburn, chemical and electrical – but in the case of a burn caused by a bonfire, firework or hot liquids you would take the following steps:

  • Cool the affected area by running under cool water for a minimum of 20 minutes (this should not be ice cold).
  • Assess the severity of the burn, treat for shock and ensure that their breathing has not been affected by inhalation of smoke or fumes.
  • Remove jewellery and loose clothing ONLY if not stuck to the burn.
  • Dress the burn with a non-stick sterile dressing (cling film works well but remember not to wrap the burn too tightly in case it begins to swell) then re-cool the area if necessary.
  • DO NOT APPLY butter, ice or any other substance to the burn.
  • Either call the emergency services or transport to a hospital, regardless of depth.

Remember the acronym, SCALD:

  • Check the Size of the burn
  • Assess the Cause
  • Consider the Age of the person affected (children and the elderly are more vulnerable)
  • Location (certain areas of the body are more sensitive)
  • The Depth of the burn itself.

Did you know that we no longer use the term ‘(number) degree burns’? Instead, burns are assessed as Superficial, Partial Thickness and Full Thickness, depending on how far the burn has penetrated the skin.

Do you know how to assess the severity of a burn? Would you benefit from First Aid Training? For more details, please visit our First Aid Courses page or call 07974 407988 for a friendly chat.

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