Please be safe this Bonfire night.
In a few days, it will be 5th November-the day that people celebrate Guy Fawkes night..
It’s normally a night of great fun for most.
However as someone who did medical school attachments in a paediatric hospital and a plastic surgery unit I would urge you to be safe. I have seen at first hand the horrors of injuries that can occur on bonfire night. So in case there is any doubt please follow these hints.
Please watch the video above.
When I saw the video above (1) the feelings were indescribable. I would ask that everybody watches this video and shares it to social medial.
Please follow the advice from the Cheshire Fire Brigade from their website The firework code — fire safety tips
It’s much safer to attend an organised bonfire or firework display, but if you’re thinking of using fireworks as part of your celebrations, please follow the safety advice below so that everyone has a good time without getting hurt.
Always follow the firework code
Stand well back
Keep pets indoors
Keep fireworks in a closed box
Only buy fireworks that are CE marked
Light at arm’s length, using a taper
Follow the instructions on each firework
Never give sparklers to a child under five
Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
Always supervise children around fireworks
Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
Never go near a firework that has been lit — even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode. (2)
Now watch this video called 6 Top Tips for Firework Safety. (3)
Advice to organisers of fireworks displays .
Firework displays should be enjoyable and spectacular occasions — but they obviously need some responsible planning. The good news is that there is straightforward guidance to help you.
If you are organising a major public event, you will clearly need a robust and detailed approach to planning as well as professional involvement. If you are holding a local firework display, such as those organised by many sports clubs, schools or parish councils, you still need to plan responsibly, but the same level of detail is not necessary or expected. Below are some tips and guidance to help you.
Before the event:
- Think about who will operate the display. There is no reason why you should not light a display yourselves provided it only contains fireworks in categories 1, 2 and 3. but remember, category 4 fireworks may only be used by professional firework display operators. In untrained hands they can be lethal.
- Consider whether the site is suitable and large enough for your display, including a bonfire if you are having one. Is there space for the fireworks to land well away from spectators? Remember to check in daylight for overhead power lines and other obstructions. What is the direction of the prevailing wind? What would happen if it changed?
- Think about what you would do if things go wrong. Make sure there is someone who will be responsible for calling the emergency services
- Make sure you obtain the fireworks from a reputable supplier.
- If the display is to be provided by a professional firework display operator make sure that you are clear on who does what especially in the event of an emergency
- Ensure you have a suitable place to store the fireworks. Your firework supplier or local authority should be able to advise
- If you plan on selling alcohol the bar should be well away from the display site
On the day of the event:
- Recheck the site, weather conditions and wind direction
- Don’t let anyone into the zone where the fireworks will fall — or let anyone other than the display operator or firing team into the firing zone or the safety zone around it
- Discourage spectators from bringing drink onto the site
- Don’t let spectators bring their own fireworks onto the site
- If you will also have a bonfire at the display then you should:
- Check the structure is sound and does not have small children or animals inside it before lighting it
- Not use petrol or paraffin to light the fire
- Have only one person responsible for lighting the fire. That person, and any helpers, should wear suitable clothing eg a substantial outer garment made of wool or other low-flammable material.
- Make sure that the person lighting the fire and any helpers know what to do in the event of a burn injury or clothing catching fire
- Never attempt to relight fireworks. Keep well clear of fireworks that have failed to go off
The morning after:
- Carefully check and clear the site. Dispose of fireworks safely. They should never be burnt in a confined space (eg a boiler)
Additional points to consider if you are organising a major public display
For major displays, particularly those involving category 4 ‘professional’ fireworks or very large number of spectators, a more robust approach is obviously needed.
- Plan and mark out the areas for spectators, firing fireworks (and a safety zone around it) as well as an area where the fireworks will fall
- Think about how people will get into and out of the site. Keep pedestrian and vehicle routes apart if possible. Mark exit routes clearly and ensure they are well lit. Ensure emergency vehicles can get access to the site
- Appoint enough stewards/marshals. Make sure they understand what they are to do on the night and what they should do in the event of an emergency
- Contact the emergency services and local authority. If your site is near an airport you may need to contact them
- Signpost the first aid facilities
Most employers are required by law to insure against liability for injury or disease to their employees arising out of their employment. The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 ensures that you have at least a minimum level of insurance cover against any such claims.
Public liability insurance is not required by health and safety law. However, if you are manufacturing or storing explosives (including fireworks) you may wish to take out public liability insurance. Many industry trade associations and professional bodies require this as a condition of membership. Professional display operators using category F4 fireworks, T2 theatrical pyrotechnics or P2 pyrotechnic articles are required by product safety law to have public liability insurance in place covering their use. (4)
Special advice for parents
(Again all from (3))
We want children to enjoy fireworks but they need to know that they can be dangerous if they are not used properly. Each year over half of all firework injuries are suffered by children. The Child Accident Prevention Trust and Direct.gov have more guidance on keeping kids safe.
Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? They should never be given to a child under five.
Where to buy fireworks
Don’t cut corners just to save a few pounds. Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop to make sure that they conform to British Standards. This means that they should have BS 7114 written on the box.
Sometimes shops open up for a short time before Bonfire Night but these may not be the best places to buy fireworks from. Staff in these shops might not be very knowledgeable about using fireworks safely and their fireworks might not meet British Standards.
Don’t buy fireworks from anywhere you’re not sure about, such as the back of a van or from a temporary, unlicensed market stall.
What fireworks to buy
There are different categories of fireworks. Members of the public can buy and set off most of the fireworks that come under Categories 1 to 3. These are fireworks that include those that you can use indoors, in your garden or at a display. Always read the packet carefully and make sure that the fireworks you buy are suitable for the place where you are going to set them off.
Some fireworks can only be bought and used by firework professionals. These include air bombs, aerial shells, aerial maroons, shells-in-mortar and maroons-in-mortar, all bangers, mini rockets, fireworks with erratic flight, some Category 2 and 3 fireworks which exceed certain size limits, and all Category 4 fireworks.
Setting fireworks off
Only one person should be in charge of fireworks. If that’s you, then make sure you take all the necessary precautions. Read the instructions in daylight and don’t drink any alcohol until they’ve all been discharged. Make your preparations in advance and in daylight or with a torch (never a naked flame). On the night you will need…
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
Protect your animals
You should take precautions to protect your pets during the times of the year when fireworks are likely to be set off.
Fireworks and the law
There are laws about when fireworks can be sold, and to who — as well as the times fireworks can be set off.
If you are under 18 years of age
If you are under 18, you can’t:
- buy the types of fireworks which can be sold only to adults
- have fireworks in public places
If you do, the police can give you an on-the-spot fine of £80.
Using fireworks legally
It is against the law to:
- set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public place
- set off fireworks between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am — except during certain celebrations
If found guilty by the courts, you could be fined up to £5,000 and can be imprisoned for up to three months. You may be liable for an on-the-spot fine of £80.
When you can use fireworks during celebrations
You can let off fireworks :
- until midnight on Bonfire Night
- until 1.00 am on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year
Now watch this advice from the management
Although humourous it has a serious point. (6)
What you can do to change the law.
If you are in the UK please sign this parliamentary petition
Ban fireworks for general sale to the public.
Every year more and more people, animals and wildlife get hurt by fireworks. It’s time something was fine to stop this. There are enough organised firework groups around for us to still enjoy fireworks safely so please help me stop the needless sale of them to the public! The noise from fireworks causes a great amount of fear, stress and anxiety in wild animals. … Errant fireworks can also cause environmental damage though fires, and from the release of poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, which is not just inhaled by wildlife, but contaminates the natural environment.
In England last year, 4,436 individuals attended A&E because of an injury caused by a firework — more than double the 2,141 in 2009/10.
With around 40% of the UKs dogs being scared.
- Fire Safety Song! Fireworks Parody https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrdJDu9Y8U0
- The firework code — fire safety tips https://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/public-safety/campaigns/events/bonfire-and-firework-safety/the-firework-code
- 6 Top Tips for Firework Safety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IuE9INiQxg
- Organising firework displays http://www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/fireworks/using.htm
- The Firework Code https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv3yBgrBi7k
- Fireworks code — The Management. PIF https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrllYDyRYLQ