That would’ve been the title had it made any sort of newspaper: We’re talking about my sister some 20 odd years ago.
It was Diwali, the Indian festival of light. A traditional time to celebrate with fireworks, just like Guy Fawkes or Bonfire night in the UK.
We’d been setting off rockets and creating all sorts of noisy, colourful and spectacular fireworks. Mostly the adults were doing the lighting and setting off. The evening was drawing to a close and there were only a couple of bombs- little packets of powder that were packed tight to make an all mighty blast- left. The kids could have a go.
There was a certain trick: you needed to strip some of the paper off the fuse to slow the ignition process enough that you had time to throw the bomb and run before it exploded.
These little bombs were scarily loud. We watched as each of us kids lit it, threw it and made a run for it before it blew up. My sister, 12 years old at the time, had stripped her bomb’s fuse and was lighting the fuse. The match went out.
She tried again and the match went out again without lighting the fuse.
And again and the match went out. The fuse seemed to be unscathed by the little flame of the match.
Then a gentle gust of wind and suddenly most of the fuse was gone. It had ignited!
I screamed: THROW…!– but didn’t even have enough time to finish my sentence.
My sister had realised what was happening fractions of seconds before the firework exploded. She’d just threw it and it had maybe travelled 10-20 centimetres from her hand and she’d had a chance to turn away just, slightly as if to start running.
Unfortunately, all this wasn’t enough.
There was screaming, there was blood gushing from her hand. The impact of the blast, even from that little firecracker, had tore into her skin and flesh between her thumb and index finger. Her fingertips were burnt and she was in a lot of pain.
Chaos ensued as our parents rushed to help, to deliver first aid.
Her hand went under cold water to clear the blood, soothe the burn and see the damage. Once the bleed was stemmed, a pressure bandage was applied and she was rushed to the doctor. I sat at home, with our friends allowed to stay over, till we heard more.
An hour later Dad called: She was going to be ok. She needed stitches… quite a few. There was some nerve damage, which could be permanent. The burns were luckily only minor.
My little sister got home a couple of hours later: she was shaken, hand bandaged up and her ear ringing for days. (Luckily no permanent hearing damage was done!) Thank goodness nothing serious.
I’ve always been fascinated by fireworks, but preferred them to be further away. Especially, since this incident!
This year the horror of that night was brought back when, on Guy Fawkes night, I was returning to my AirBnB and found youths letting off fireworks towards each other and laughing at these hitting and exploding in the back of mates running away. How incredibly stupid! And incredibly dangerous!
Fireworks are beautiful! They help us celebrate, they light up the skies as the winter draws in.
Fireworks are also dangerous! If precautions aren’t taken they can cause serious injury, even death.
Excuse my gushings, I may have been tainted by the huge fright all those years ago, but I was really pleased when the insurance company Churchill got in touch about their fireworks party safety tips and to offer of some safety products for us to have for this bonfire night.
What were some of these products, you may ask?
- Some goggles and gloves for our piromaniac fireworks lighter;
- Rocket launching tubes- lengths of c 1m long plastic pipes to stick into the ground to create a safe launching place for those rockets, helping send them up, instead of into the crowd of kids in the front row.
- A first aid kit- something all homes should have;
- A fire blanket- again something all households should have;
My favourite was a bonfire night, Diwali night fanny pack/ bum bag. In this is was some burns dressing and some burns gel. So simple, yet so good to have at home. (Thankfully we’ve not had to use them thus far.)
Is it just me or do you take any special precautions on Bonfire night?
Do you have any sort of safety gear at hand?
This is a collaborative post, whereby I was asked to talk about fireworks safety in return for the goodies received. However, all details above are true and I’m grateful for the prompt to share my sister’s cautionary tale. My kids have certainly heard it often enough! Please be safe this fireworks season and keep your kids and pets especially safe.