accessibility & help

British Red Cross offers advice on revelry-related injuries

Wednesday 27 April 2011
For further information
Henry Makiwa,, 0207 877 7479 or out of hours 07659 145095

With royal wedding celebrations happening all over the country this Friday (29th April), the British Red Cross is advising tips on responding to revelry-related accidents and highlighting the importance of basic first aid knowledge.

Many people are expected to throw street parties and barbeques with drinks flowing; and this may give rise to accidents and injuries. Latest accident figures show that around 1,800 people visited A&E in the UK in the past year having had an accident involving barbecue parties.

Joe Mulligan, the British Red Cross head of First Aid says: “With the extra bank holiday providing ample opportunity for people to celebrate the royal wedding or throw parties, we wish the whole country a weekend of good cheer and fun as well as good health and safety.

“Research shows that the vast majority of accidents happen at home. These range from burns, scalds and cuts that could put a dampener on an otherwise fantastic party. People should know that it is the first few minutes after any accident that are critical. The correct first aid care can speed recovery, reduce pain or even in extreme cases save a life. Done quickly, this can also salvage your party,” he added.

Here are some possible scenarios and simple tips for each situation: 

  • If you are paying more attention to watching the Kate and Will exchange vows on TV than tying up the bunting, and suddenly trip cutting yourself on the arm!

  If you suffer a large cut or wound, you need to stop the flow of blood quickly. To do this, grab a tea towel, that awful Christmas sweater from Aunt Mable or any clean cloth available to you and put pressure on the wound. If serious, call 999 as soon as possible and keep the pressure on the wound until help arrives.

  • If you are taking to the streets, it may not be a bad idea to tuck a couple of plasters into your bag.
  • The streets are packed with people in merriment when one gentleman who has been enjoying his drink since mid-morning collapses.

There could be a risk of fainting for those who have been stood for long periods to watch the procession. Drink plenty of water, and remember to walk around from time to time to reduce to risk of passing out. If someone does faint, put them in the recovery position (lay them on their side – see diagram above).

    1. Remember, alcohol and hot weather cause dehydration, so limit your intake. Drink plenty of water, dress in loose-fitting clothes and protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. 
    2. Avoid too much sunshine and use a sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher. 
    3. Drink plenty of water regularly even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty. It may not be a bad idea to carry a bottle of water if you are planning on joining the well-wishers on the wedding route.
    4. Regularly check on family and friends who are vulnerable, such as elderly people, and never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • The eager little nephew Jonny suddenly shows up running to the barbeque stand and gets in contact with the piping hot grill.

 If you do receive a burn cool it as quickly as possible, put it under cold, running water to stop the heat on the skin, for at least ten minutes and then loosely wrap it in some kitchen film. This will stop infection and also won’t stick when it’s removed. If you are in any doubt about the seriousness of the burn, or it is a child who has been burned, seek medical attention.

  • In your excitement to reach the glistening pork chops hot off the barbeque grill, be careful not to trip, slip or tumble over the barbecue charcoal briquettes! Falls account for a whopping 50% of accidents in the home so make sure you know what to do

If someone has fallen and received a sprain or strain, follow the R.I.C.E procedure: Rest the injured part, apply an Ice pack or cold compress (frozen vegetables are great!) provide Comfortable support, and Elevate the injured part. If the pain is severe or they are unable to use the injured part, seek medical advice.

  • Johnny is tucking into that al fresco meal with much gusto. He is eager to finish his meal and return to his TV-side seat to watch the wedding when he starts to choke!

 Cough it up! If you see someone choking, tilt them forwards and give them up to 5 back blows in between the shoulder blades to dislodge the item.

  • Having demolished the meal you might start to feel a little bloated. You may develop indigestion or heartburn which causes pain/burning in the chest. This mostly eases with time or on taking medication. If you suspect something more serious, like a heart attack which…
  1. Can cause a person to experience crushing, central chest pain (which often spreads to the jaw and arms), breathlessness, develop ‘ashen’ coloured skin and start sweating - these symptoms will not ease with rest.
  2. Call 999 – the sooner the better! Whilst waiting for the ambulance, make the person  comfortable by sitting them down, leaning them up against a wall or chair. Reassure  them until help arrives. If not allergic, you can also get them to chew 300mg of  aspirin slowly which will help thin blood, encourage blood flow and reduce severity of heart attack.


  • Another party comes to an end and with a full day of eats and drinks, you might find that some people have had a little bit too much fun!
  1. If you find someone unconscious, check for breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths. This will help avoid having them chocking on their tongue, inhaling vomit, or obstructing their airways.
  2. If they ARE breathing roll them onto their side and tilt their head back again so that if they vomit they will not choke. Keep monitoring them for any change
  3. If they are NOT breathing, call 999 or get someone else to do it. With them on their back, push in the middle of the chest so that it goes inwards and then release. Push at a regular rate and do not stop until help arrives.


The most important message is to know basic first aid skills so that you feel confident and willing to help if needed.

The British Red Cross and St John Ambulance will be running first aid posts close to the Royal Wedding route - locations include Parliament Square, Victoria Street, St James Park and outside Buckingham Palace.

For more information visit the Red Cross website at


Notes to Editors

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