Everyone looks forward to bonfire night and having a display of fireworks at home can be great fun, as long as they are used safely. Figures show that it is children rather than adults that are hurt by fireworks, in fact, over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries. And each year, over half of all firework injuries are actually suffered by children. Fireworks are safe but only if you use them properly. So if you’re putting on a home display, follow these simple steps to ensure that everyone has a good time without getting hurt.
- Young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers.
- Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
Sparklers are often seen as the ‘toys’ of fireworks but did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil and reach temperatures more than 15 times as hot as boiling water? Treat sparklers as you would any other firework and never give them to a child under five.
We have all seen those ‘pop up’ fireworks shops that take over empty store fronts in the run up to bonfire night. Whilst we are sure most are reputable, you should always make sure that the fireworks you buy conform to British Standards. This means that they should have BS 7114 written on the box. If you buy fireworks from a shop that has only been open for a few weeks, chances are if you do have a problem it won’t be open when you have to complain. The best places are supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys and Waitrose. And never buy fireworks from a market stall or pub carpark.
When you come to setting off your fireworks, have just one person who is in charge and don’t drink any alcohol until they’ve all been discharged. Make your preparations in advance, and in daylight. Remember to either invite your neighbours round or warn them that you are having a fireworks party, this is especially important if they have pets as they will want to bring them indoors.
On the night, you will need…
- A torch
- A bucket or two of water
- Eye protection and gloves
- A bucket of soft earth to put fireworks in
- Suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off catherine wheels or rockets.