Did you know that until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK? And whilst such a law is no longer in place, many of us still look forward November 5th, when we can enjoy a firework display.
Bonfire night displays can be great fun for the whole family, but it is important to make sure you stay safe. To help, we’ve compiled a guide of bonfire night safety tips, including some important do’s and don’ts to ensure you, your children and even your pets have an enjoyable November 5th.
Stay Safe With Sparklers:
Sparklers are a great way to enjoy Bonfire Night, particularly for children who can use them to write their names in the sky and make pretty patterns. But, it’s worth remembering whilst sparklers may look harmless they can cause serious injury if they are not handled correctly.
In fact, a single sparkler can reach a temperature of up to 2,000⁰C, which is 15 times the boiling point of water, and 3 sparklers lit at once will burn at the same heat as a blowtorch used for joining metal.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them at your display. Instead, follow the advice below and you’ll ensure sparkler safety.
- Always light sparklers one at a time, and ensure when sparklers are being handled gloves are worn – just consider how hot they can get.
- NEVER give sparklers to under 5s. Yes we want everyone to enjoy a firework display, but for child safety on Bonfire Night, young children should never be given sparklers.
- ALWAYS supervise children when they’re using sparklers, and make sure you’ve shown them how to safely use sparklers at arm’s length.
- Plunge finished sparklers into a bucket of water. We would also recommend leaving them there until the following day, as they can retain their heat for some time.
Feel Good With Fireworks:
As the fireworks go off there should be the sounds of “oohhs” and “awws” from the crowd, as they’re delighted by the array of colours which light up the night sky. What you never want to hear at a firework display is the sound of “ahh” as someone is hurt / injured by a rogue firework.
To reduce the risk of anyone getting injured by fireworks at your display, it’s important you:
- Only use fireworks which conform to British standards. These will be marked with either the CE logo or BS7114.In addition to buying fireworks which conform to British standards, you also need to make sure you get the right fireworks for your type of display – and there are 4 categories:
- 1) Those suitable for use inside domestic buildings, and these should be marked with “indoors”
- 2)Those suitable for use in gardens / paddocks. These require a minimum spectator distance of 5 metres. Such fireworks will be marked with “outdoor”
- 3) Those for display areas in large outdoor spaces and require a minimum spectator distance of 25 metres. These fireworks will be marked with “display”.
- 4) Fireworks which are for specialist displays and must only be used by a professionally trained and qualified person. These are the fireworks you’ll see at public displays.
- Reading the instructions, in daylight, before lighting the firework(s). The instructions should once again be checked just before lighting the fireworks, and for this, you’ll need to make sure you have an appropriate torch.
- Light fireworks at arm’s length, with a taper, and stand well back when fireworks go off. You should never go back to a lit firework either.
- Warn people as you’re about to light fireworks. This will give them time to make sure they’re at a safe distance for when the firework makes its journey into the sky. You should also make sure rocket fireworks are pointed away from spectators.
- Always keep a bucket of water in close proximity, for those “just in case” moments.
- Clean up and safely dispose of fireworks the following day – but make sure this is always done by an adult to limit the risk of any injuries being caused.
For increased safety when having a firework display in your garden, you should also make sure you significantly plan the event, that all fireworks are kept in a closed box and only lit one at a time, and that a responsible adult lights all fireworks.
Bonfire Safety Made Simple:
If you go to any public fireworks display, chances are you’ll be greeted with a spectacular bonfire which is burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Whilst these are enjoyable, and can be a great way to stay warm, they aren’t a necessity for the firework display at home.
But if you insist on having one, do so safely with these bonfire safety tips:
- Check the bonfire before lighting for any pets / animals or children who are hiding in or taking refuge in it.
- Make sure your bonfire is away from trees, shrubs, houses, cables and anything which can easily catch fire.
- NEVER put fireworks (used or otherwise), aerosols, paint tins, foam filled furniture, batteries or tyres on a bonfire. Such products are dangerous to set fire to and can result in harmful pollutants.
- Use domestic firelighters to light your bonfire. Never use petrol, paraffin or other flammable liquids.
- Make sure everyone is stood away from the bonfire to help reduce the risk of any burns or accidents, although there should always be one responsible adult who is in charge of the bonfire.
- When the bonfire is over, douse it in water. You should also check the surrounding areas for any embers which may have caused, or have the potential to cause small fires.
We would also suggest before lighting a bonfire, whether on Bonfire Night or any other time of the year, you warn neighbours. Doing so gives them the chance to close windows and will result in your bonfire being less of a nuisance.
Protect Your Pets:
You, your children and your friends may be enjoying the fireworks as they whoosh up into the air, crackle, pop and then explode into an array of colours – but there will be certain members of your family, your pets, who won’t be.
During the build up to Bonfire Night, the event itself and usually the days which follow, it is important to make sure that you protect your pets and limit the stress they are likely to face, caused by the loud bangs which come with fireworks.
A few simple steps to protect your pets this Bonfire Night, include:
- Keep pets indoors with curtains closed, and create a calming environment.
- Try to distract your pets from the loud bangs. This can be achieved by leaving the TV or radio on.
- If your pets are hiding under furniture or in the corner when fireworks go off, whilst it’s often tempting to coax them out, don’t as forcing them out from where they’re hiding is likely to cause them more stress. But it is important to make sure you reassure them that everything is ok.
- Where possible, walk your pets during the day as this will mean they don’t have to be outside during the evening when fireworks are going off.
Taking the time to follow the Bonfire Night safety tips above, will help to ensure that you, your family and pets all remain safe during any firework display you’re hosting or visiting, ensuring you’re able to enjoy the “oohs” and “awws”.