Ahead of lockdown 'bonfire parties' figures show thousands of injuries caused by fireworks in Buckinghamshire and the South East
Thousands of people have ended up in A&E or on a hospital ward in the Halloween and Bonfire months over the past five years after being injured by fireworks.
With most big displays off this year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there are fears the nation could see a surge in accidents if more people try to recreate Bonfire displays at home.
Firefighters have urged people to “think twice” before hosting their own Bonfire Night displays after figures revealed thousands of people visited A&E with fireworks injuries over the last five Octobers and Novembers.
Exclusive NHS Digital figures obtained by the JPIMedia Data Unit show at least 3,591 people attended A&E in England with a firework-related injury over the Halloween and Bonfire months between 2015 and 2019.
That number could be as high as 3,657, as some smaller figures have been suppressed to protect patient identities.
In the South East, which includes Buckinghamshire and Aylesbury Vale, there have been 5,410 hospitalisations from people being hit with fireworks.
NHS Digital added a change in recording practices could be behind a drop in fireworks injuries over the past year, so the true number is likely to be higher still.
Patients were admitted to hospital between 416 and 752 times because of the extent of their injuries. A patient could be admitted more than once for ongoing treatment.
In Wales, there were 30 admissions over the same period, while Scottish hospitals recorded 31.
Neil Odin, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s prevention committee, said the Bonfire Night period was “notoriously busy” for the UK’s fire and rescue services.
But with big displays cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, he fears this year could see a surge in injuries as people attempt to create their own fireworks fun – and added pressure on an already strained NHS .
“Normally we advise people to attend a professionally organised display because we know they are safer with very few significant injuries occurring and appropriate first aid is always available on site,” he said.
“This year, however, as we all know, is very different. The pandemic means more families may try to hold displays at home perhaps without the experience of having handled fireworks before.
“We ask people to think twice about whether they need to have a display at home and instead look to other ways of celebrating Bonfire Night with their immediate families.”