Bonfire Night – Safety Tips
Bonfire Night can be one of the most exciting nights of the year for all the family. A chance to wrap up warm, watch fireworks, play with sparklers and roast marshmallows. But with many potential hazards, it’s important to keep safe.
Whether you’re hosting your own bonfire event or attending one in your local community, Fast Response PFA Ltd have put together these top tips for staying safe on Bonfire Night.
Choosing and Using The Right Fireworks
- If you are having a firework display at home, make sure the fireworks you buy are suitable for home use and that your garden is of suitable size for this activity.
- Check before you buy your fireworks that they are of British Standard and that they are marked with British Standard number BS 7114.
- Store fireworks in a metal box and take them out one at a time. Don’t keep any in your pocket.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks, and do not to return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Fireworks should be pointed away from spectators.
- Never throw fireworks or sparklers. Not only is it dangerous but as it is a criminal offence you could be fined up to £5000
Building Your Own Bonfire
- If you are not attending a local bonfire and wish to host your own, a couple of things need to be considered.
- Build the bonfire away from your home and any sheds and fences but not near any roads, hedges or trees.
- Ensure that you and your guests stand well away from the fire and the firework area. It would be a good idea to put up a barrier so that everyone knows where the boundary lies.
- Always ensure that there are no sleeping animals hidden in amongst the branches on bonfire night before you light the bonfire.
- Keep a torch and a bucket of water nearby in case there are any emergencies.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire – it’s much safer to use firelighters.
- You can’t get rid of household waste on the bonfire as it will cause pollution or harm people’s health. You should always burn dry material as it produces less smoke. Never burn treated wood, rubber, plastic, foam or paint.
Check you are complying with the law at Gov.UK
Use of Sparklers
- Sparklers are great fun for children and adults alike! Enjoy them safely by lighting them in a space that is open but not too windy. They should not be given to under 5’s.
- Ensure that everyone holding sparklers is wearing gloves and holds the sparkler horizontally, as far away from their face and body as possible.
- When the sparkler is no longer burning, put it in a bucket of water to cool down.
After the party
- Once the bonfire has died down, pour water on the remainder of the bonfire instead of leaving it to burn out.
- Ensure that you haven’t left any unlit fireworks laying around.
- Don’t throw used fireworks in the bonfire as there could still be gunpowder in them.
General Safety Rules and Facts
- Children do get excited and forget the dangers of their surroundings and if very young don’t even realise the dangers. They should be supervised at all times. According to the UK Fire Service, over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries. According to Gov.UK around half of all firework injuries happen to children under the age of 16.
- Decide who is going to be the person of control. Only one person should be in charge of setting off fireworks. That way, fewer people are put at risk. If you are that person, don’t drink alcohol and keep alcohol away from the bonfire.
- Keep pets indoors. Ensure doors, windows, and curtains are closed to reduce the sounds of explosions and if your neighbours have pets do advise them in advance of bonfire night of your intentions.
- It is illegal to set off fireworks after 11pm and bonfires have a cut off point at midnight so start early to enjoy the full show.
- Learn how to treat minor burns, just in case! But always call for emergency services immediately if things are beyond your level of skill.
Treatment of Burns
- Stop the burning process as soon as possible. If the person has actually caught on fire, douse flames with water or smothering flames with a blanket.
- Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin. However, don’t try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin because this could cause more damage.
- Immediately cool the burn with cool water for a minimum of 20 minutes plus whatever you feel is necessary. Never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances such as butter. Never burst blisters – seek medical advice if blistering occurs.
- During the cooling process of the affected area it is important to keep the casualty warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area. Keeping warm will prevent hypothermia, where a person’s body temperature drops below 35ºC. This is a risk if you are cooling a large burnt area, particularly in young children and elderly people.
- If you are taking the casualty to hospital the best dressing to use is cling film. Place cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand. This keeps it clean, doesn’t stick to the burn and you can continue cooling with a cool pack on route.
- If the burn is severe or the person has breathed in smoke or fumes, call 999 / 112 for emergency help.
Have Great Fun and Create Memories for all the Right Reasons!
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