Burned-hand-sitting-couple-BLOGWhen an explosive garden incinerator engulfed her husband in flames, Frances Lewis was at a loss what to do – until she remembered the first aid leaflet which had arrived in the post days earlier.

The first thing Frances heard was a huge bang.

Spinning round, she saw a ferocious fireball envelop her husband Oliver as he stood just yards away from her in their garden.

(He had been burning garden waste in an incinerator, when the petrol he was using exploded.)

Once the flames subsided, a traumatised Frances could immediately see her husband’s left forearm and hand were badly burned.

For a moment, she just froze – not knowing how to help. But then she recalled a first aid leaflet that the British Red Cross had dropped through her letterbox just days earlier.

And suddenly she knew what to do.

Stressful situation

As her husband writhed in agony, a line Frances had read in the leaflet flashed through her mind: ‘Put the burn under cold running water’.

So that’s exactly what she did.

By this point, Oliver was struggling to stay conscious because of the extreme pain. Thinking quickly, Frances grabbed the first aid leaflet to check she was treating him correctly. Burned-hand-incinerator-BLOG

The result? Frances was able to give poor Oliver precisely the right treatment, which in turn has helped with his subsequent recovery.

On the mend

Following the incident, Oliver spent a week on a burns unit at a hospital in Swansea, and two days in intensive care.

But now the 31-year-old is on the mend. He has regained feeling in his arm and new skin has grown back.

And while he’ll need to be careful (for example, he has to keep the injured area out of the sun for two years), the prospects are good. Burned-hand-couple-BLOG

Looking back, Frances said: “It’s very hard to think clearly in such a stressful situation, but having the proper information to hand did calm me down a bit.

“The leaflet also gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing. It proved invaluable.”

Chance in a million

And the first aid hero still can’t quite get over the coincidence of the Red Cross leaflet arriving when it did.

She said: “I’ve often had leaflets in the post and binned them without a second thought, but I’ll be forever thankful that the Red Cross one popped through my letterbox that day.

“It was just a small booklet, but the back page contained handy information on how to treat burns. What are the chances of that happening?”

Frances added: “I remember thinking at the time that it looked like pretty useful information. Little did I know I’d be relying on it just a few days later.”