Tonight is Guy Fawkes’ night, and all who remember the fifth of November will be excited in advance! I can tell you my 9-year-old, a tiny pyromaniac in the making, has been bouncing off all four walls and the ceiling since waking up – predictably far too early for a Saturday – this morning. But due to the surfeit of dangerous substances and activities involved in this traditional British celebration, it’s important to keep some safety considerations in mind.
Bonfire Night is, of course, the perfect time for a bonfire. I, myself, found myself in the possession of a wooden dog house nobody wanted, which was left on a friend’s land when someone else moved away. My husband and I got the hatchet out, and chopped it into bite-sized pieces before chucking them onto a roaring fire. But, for safety, we purchased an incinerator bin. Sitting on three small legs, with holes to let the air flow through and feed your fire, this bin allows you to have a bonfire quite safely. Just bear in mind that you shouldn’t over-fill it – if you fill the bin with wood that sticks out over the edge, flaming pieces can fall off and set fire to the grass, bushes or other surrounding materials. It also stops you from putting the lid – provided with a chimney to let smoke out and air in – on top, which can cause safety concerns. Don’t treat your incinerator bin lightly as it will burn for a surprisingly long time and you will not want to spend all those hours right next to it.
Children love fireworks – this is an almost universal rule. But letting them light fireworks themselves is a recipe for unmitigated disaster. Keeping children are a safe distance from fireworks at all times seems like overkill when they are a bit older, but this really is a case of better safe than sorry. You could be facing a lifetime of severe scarring as well as a life-threatening danger of infection if your child is badly burnt; better not to risk it. Younger children of around age 4 or 5 can hold sparklers, but observe the rules; make them wear gloves to protect their hands, and make sure there is a bucket of sand or water available for them to douse the sparklers in at the end.
If there should be a problem where someone’s clothing catches fire, put out the fire immediately. For this purpose, having a bucket of water nearby in case of emergency is a good idea. Using a hose or a tap, douse the burn in cold water whilst phoning for an ambulance. Do not remove clothing which is stuck in the burn. You could be doing incredible amounts of damage; simply keep dousing the wound in cold water until emergency personnel arrive to take charge of the situation. Medical personnel will be able to remove the clothing without doing the amount of damage you could or would do, so trust them and simply work on stopping the burn by cooling it.
All in all, Bonfire Night should be a fun experience for all involved. But don’t forget that safety comes first; you’ll be able to enjoy yourself whilst knowing you and your loved-ones are as safe as possible!