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Bonfire Night may have been full of sparks and shooting fireworks for most but for North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), 999 calls shot up by 5.7 per cent compared to the previous night.

Bonfire Night and the evenings around 5 November are always a busy time, with families up and down the North West taking part in the celebrations. A lot of which are incidents that can be avoided if people using fireworks and sparklers took greater precautions.

Director of Operations, Derek Cartwright comments: “Once again we have seen a rise in calls on Bonfire Night. This rise meant some people had to wait longer than we would have liked for an ambulance response – We expect there will be additional celebrations this weekend so please help us by being safe if you are hosting or attending a Bonfire.

“NWAS services attended a number of preventable incidents related to Bonfire Night. Inappropriate use of fireworks and injuries caused by sparks from fires were seen across the region. The Trust received calls for people who were hit in the face by fireworks, suffered burns and even getting fire sparks in their eyes.

“This weekend we should continue to be mindful of how dangerous fireworks, bonfires and even sparklers can be. Sparklers can burn up to 1000 degrees centigrade and fireworks can reach speeds of 150mph, which will cause serious damage to anything they hit.

“Throughout the celebrations always remember to keep a watchful eye on your children to keep them out of harm’s way and if you are handling or lighting fireworks yourself, always remember to follow the instructions and adhere to the Firework Code.

“We recommend that people attend a professionally-organised public display. However, if you are planning to host your own event this weekend please make safety a priority to ensure everyone has a good time without getting hurt.

“Let’s all try to do our bit to help save lives and protect our loved ones this weekend by following some simple tips from NWAS should an accident occur.”

In the event of an accident with fireworks or fires you should:

  • Extinguish any flames if the casualty is alight
  • If alight, drop to the floor and roll to extinguish flames, keeping mouth and eyes closed
  • If you see someone else on fire, tell them to ‘Stop, drop and roll’
  • Use cold water (ideally cold running water) to cool the burnt area and reduce the pain
  • Do not remove any burnt clothing which has stuck to the skin
  • Do not use any creams or oils on burn injuries
  • Seek urgent medical help by calling 999 for life threatening or serious injuries, for minor injuries contact NHS 111.

For more information on firework safety, visit The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Safer Fireworks website:www.saferfireworks.com or visit the NHS Choices website at: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/fireworksafety/Pages/Fireworksafety.aspx