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Bonfire & Firework Safety

Written by Nikky Ruskin


Bright, dazzling, colourful firework displays, the crackling of a bonfire and toasted marshmallows are memories that we all may have of November 5th, however such fun doesn't come without risks. 


Despite annual safety warnings, firework celebrations still end in painful injuries for too many people, including very young children.  In 2014 - 2015 during this season sadly approximately 4500 people/children attended A&E due to Bonfires/Fireworks.  The injuries ranged from 3rd degree burns, debris in the eyes from the bonfire or firework to smoke inhalation.  However, by following simple safety measures the night will be an enjoyable success for everyone.

Firework Code

Only responsible adults should set up the firework display, the lighting of fireworks and the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used. Children and young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance, not get involved with the display itself. Follow these top 10 tips for a safer fireworks party:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
  2. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
  4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back.
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  7. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Firework fact

  • Fireworks can go up to 150mph
  • Throwing a firework could lead you to a fine of up to £5000

Sparkler safety

Sparklers are often viewed as being harmless but they burn at fierce temperatures. Follow these top tips for sparkler safety:

  • It is recommended that sparklers are not given to under-5s.
  • Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves.
  • Hold sparklers at arm's length while being lit.
  • Don't wave sparklers about close to other people.
  • Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler.
  • When the sparkler has finished put it in a bucket of cold water.

Sparkler fact

  • Three sparklers held together will burn at the same temperature as a blowtorch
  • A sparkler can reach to a temperature of 2,000 degrees Celsius.

Bonfire safety

Bonfire Night should not be viewed as a chance to burn waste nor household rubbish.  Every year bitts of old furniture, mattresses and even household rubbish are used to build up bonfires along with foam and old clothing to stuff the Guy. When these are burnt they can create damaging pollutants. Materials that it is safe to burn include untreated wood, branches, small amounts of leaves, card and paper.  Follow these top tips for bonfire safety:

  • One person should be responsible for the bonfire and children should be supervised at all times.
  • Choose a site away from wooden fences, sheds and where children will be playing.
  • Never pour petrol, paraffin or methylated on to a fire - it's safer to use fire lighters to prevent flare-ups.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy in case of an accident.
  • Avoid loose clothing and tie back long hair.
  • After the party, pour water on the fire, rather than leaving it to burn out.

Bonfire fact

  • Until 1959 it was illegal to NOT celebrate Bonfire night.
  • Originally Bonfire night was called Bone fire night

And finally, whilst all those safety measures make sense, it may come across to children that you're putting a dampener on the celebrations.   Fireman Sam has kindly made a video outlining his top tips for a Safe Bonfire Night to help you!

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