The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) gives a safety code for enjoying fireworks:
Young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
Firework claims: ‘ my kids were excited about Bonfire Night, but it all went wrong’
‘Everyone else is going to the display in the park – can we go? Please Mum?’.
Gemma had never been that bothered about fireworks, but as November 5th got closer, her kids got more and excited. Gemma never felt that safe at these displays, but she was reassured by her neighbour, who said the display was a good one, and she should go.
‘OK’, thought Gemma, ‘we’ll go – what could go wrong?’.
When the big night came, Gemma’s partner was working the late shift, so she bundled the kids in the car, and drove down to the park. There were lots of people there, and Gemma soon forgot her worries, chatting to her friends, and enjoying watching the childrens faces light up when they held the sparklers. Anyway, it was a chilly night, and the heat from the huge bonfire soon warmed her up.
Soon, the fireworks were lighting up the night sky – but then there was a huge bang, and suddenly Gemma’s leg felt very hot…
The next thing Gemma remembered was lying in hospital. Her leg was really painful, but the nurse said the painkillers would kick in soon.
Gemma started to remember the bright light coming towards her when she stood in the park, and the sudden pain – and then she panicked. Where were the kids? It was OK, said the nurse –they were waiting outside with her neighbour but her Mum was on her way as they hadn’t been able to reach her partner yet.
Gemma relaxed a bit – it did hurt though.
‘We’re just waiting for the Plastic Surgeon to come down to see you’ said the nurse. ‘You’ll be back on your feet very soon, but skin graft operations are a long term thing, I’m afraid, so you’ll need lots of support at home, and we’ll be seeing a lot of you’.
Gemma felt tense again. Her partner worked away a lot – who would take the kids to school while she was in hospital? Or when she had her operations in the future? She wouldn’t be paid whilst she was away from work – how would they pay the bills? They had just taken out that loan, but she did not take out the extra insurance to pay the loan if she was off work. Who would look after her when she came out of hospital? She couldn’t keep asking her Mum.
Gemma’s leg twinged. What did her leg look like anyway? She had just bought that new dress for the party next month – and now she realised it would be a very long time before she would wear dresses again..
Unfortunately, Gemma’s experience is all too common, Accident and Emergency Departments are kept busy with around 1000 people injured each year on Bonfire Night. Injuries include damage to eyes, or burns to hands and feet, with longer term injury involving scarring, blindness and even death.
Sometimes faulty fireworks are to blame, but often the cause is poor organisation at events, or a failure to follow the instructions or take common sense precautions.
So, just what can Gemma claim for?
- Her injury itself and all the pain she suffers
- The cost of any treatment she needs
- The cost of painkillers or prescription charges
- Her loss of earnings
- Cost of retraining if she loses her job
- Travel expenses to hospital and doctors appointments
- Care claim to compensate those who help Gemma with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, or gardening, or personal care like dressing and washing
- And much much more…
Gemma’s story is certainly familiar to us here at Russell Worth – we spend every day helping people get back to normal after an accident, and claiming what they are entitled to. So if you think we can help, just give us a call on our New Client Hotline 0800 028 2060.