accessibility & help

British Red Cross offers first aid advice ahead of Bonfire Night

3 November 2015

Burn to hand being treated with a hose

As bonfire night approaches the British Red Cross is reminding people of the most useful first aid for any burns related accidents. Most firework-related injuries happen at family or private parties, and around half of those incidents involve children under the age of seventeen.

Joe Mulligan, the British Red Cross head of first aid education said:

“Most people don’t realize that sparklers reach temperatures five times hotter than cooking oil. Fireworks are safe if carefully handled but we want to make sure people know how to help if someone does get burned.”

Recent research carried out by the charity shows that old wives tales still abound, with more than one in ten parents convinced that using toothpaste or putting on a burn was the best treatment. With these common misconceptions still circulating, the British Red Cross has issued some bonfire themed advice for any burn-related accidents.

Here are some tips:

Scorched, singed and sizzling! That’s what someone’s skin will be doing if they come into contact with the hot and sparkly bit.

Put the burned area under cold running water as soon as possible for at least 10 minutes - yes 10 minutes! This l will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring.

Any cold liquid will do if you do not have immediate access to water. For example a glass of squash or a cold beer. Then get the injured area under a tap or hose and keep the cold water running for 10 minutes.

Refrain from putting any lotions, creams, butter or oils on the burn, they will not help the situation and may cause more pain if they have to be removed later on

Keep calm! Especially if helping someone else – panicking will get you nowhere

Loosely wrap cling film or a clean plastic bag around the burn once it is cooled. This protects the area from infection and will reduce pain.

The burn may need urgent medical treatment. If you’re in any doubt, seek medical advice and always call 999 if a child has been burned.

Remember, remember the 5th of November….. is a time to have fun and enjoy yourself. To ensure that your fireworks night goes off with a bang, brush up on your first aid skills at or download the free British Red Cross first aid app.


Notes to editors


British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

For further information please contact Penny Sims at or 0207 877 7044