Don’t be blind to the dangers of bonfire night – follow the SPARKLER firework code!
In the run up to Bonfire Night, Sight care charity, the Eyecare Trust have issued a stark warning about the dangers of fireworks and has launched a safety code designed to help prevent avoidable eye injuries on bonfire night.
Nearly a third (29 per cent) of all accidents involving fireworks lead to eye injuries. According to recent DTI Firework Statistics* 285 people received hospital treatment for eye injuries caused by fireworks during Guy Fawkes celebrations (mid Oct – mid November) in 2005.
Rockets take first place in the danger stakes, but also flying high on the dangerous firework list is the innocent sparkler. Although sparklers are often thought to be one of the safest fireworks, they burn at temperatures up to 2000ºC – hot enough to melt gold – and are responsible for ten per cent of firework-related eye injuries. When they have finished burning, the tip can remain hot for a minute or two and they are potentially lethal.
Follow the Eyecare Trust’s SPARKLER code for a safe and injury free Bonfire Night:
Shield your eyes with protective eyewear when lighting fireworks
Plunge sparklers into a bucket of cold water as soon as they have burnt out
Attend properly organised displays wherever possible
Read the instructions on the fireworks with a torch and follow them carefully
Keep all fireworks in a closed metal box and only light one at a time
Leave fireworks that fail to go off – never return to a lit firework
Ensure everyone stands a safe distance away when the fireworks are going off
Remove all debris and flammable objects from your firework display area
Iain Anderson, Chairman of The Eyecare Trust explains: “Eye damage caused by fireworks is often severe and can lead to permanently reduced vision or even blindness, so this year the Trust is urging people to take extra care – especially the under 18 year olds who are most at risk of injury.
Iain continues: “By following the SPARKLER code you can enjoy the Guy Fawkes and protect your sight.”
If anyone in your party does suffer a firework eye injury:
• Seek medical attention immediately, even for seemingly mild injuries. Quick action can minimise long-term damage.
• Do not rub or rinse the injured eye, or apply any ointments to the eye area. If you do, it could increase the damage and make it more difficult for a specialist to provide treatment.
*Statistics compiled by the Department of Trade and Industry from information supplied by hospital Accident and Emergency Units in England, Scotland and Wales.