Top doc issues safety warning ahead of stay at home firework displays

England’s most senior GP is encouraging people to be safe with private firework displays this Bonfire Night as the cancellation of public events is expected to spark an increase in shows at home.

People across the country will be celebrating Bonfire Night and Diwali quite differently this year, with polling finding that more than a third (37 per cent) of the public are considering hosting private firework displays.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care has asked people to follow safety instructions on fireworks and familiarise themselves with basic first aid in case something does go wrong, so that these traditional November celebrations continue safely.

According to figures from NHS Digital, there were almost 2,000 occasions of people going to A&E linked to fireworks last year.

Dr Nikki Kanani, Medical Director of Primary Care for NHS England, said: “We know that there are some important festivals coming up, and we want people to be able to enjoy them safely and in line with the government guidance – so we are encouraging people to take care while celebrating Diwali and Bonfire Night, if you are arranging firework displays in private gardens.

“Learning basic first aid and knowing what to do if someone suffers an injury, especially in the case of burns where you need to act quickly to cool and cover the area, can be crucial.”

“If you or a family member do need medical advice, you can get expert help from the website, or the NHS 111 phone and online service.”

Dr Lynn Thomas, medical director at St John Ambulance, said: “Normally our highly trained volunteers would be keeping local communities safe at hundreds of public events this week, which have sadly been cancelled because of COVID-19.

“This year, it’s particularly important to know what to do in the event of an emergency. For those celebrating at home, we would urge extreme caution and advise strictly following instructions when handling, lighting and watching fireworks.

“In those unfortunate instances when someone has a minor injury, knowing what to do and acting fast can prevent further harm and relieve suffering. However, in the case of serious injuries, always dial 999.”

Mark Henley, President of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), said: “Fireworks are serious explosives and accidents can result in extensive trauma to the hands and face, with patients often requiring multiple rounds of complex reconstructive surgery.

“Every year, plastic surgeons witness the life-changing impact of firework injuries, and so we are people to take extreme caution when considering purchasing fireworks for personal use.”