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Bonfire Night Safety, Our Tips to stay safe.....


Sparkler safely

Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? Sparklers are not toys and should never be given to a child under five.

Where to buy

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.

Whatever you do 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 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 one to three.

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.

Professional fireworks

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 two and three fireworks which exceed certain size limits and all Category four fireworks.

Setting them 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.

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.

Firework Safety Code

· Ideally attend an organised display.

· Fireworks must not be sold to any person under the age of 18.

· Buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or CE.

· Keep fireworks in a closed metal box.

· Follow the instructions on each firework.

· Light them at arms length using a taper.

· Stand well back.

· Never go back to a lit firework.

· Never put fireworks in your pocket.

· Keep a bucket of water nearby if you are setting off fireworks in your garden.

· Never throw fireworks.

· Keep pets indoors.

· Alcohol and fireworks do not mix and may lead to injury.


It is much better to manage without a bonfire. But if you insist, make sure it is well away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds.

Private bonfires

Bonfires should be built at least 18 metres from things such as buildings, trees and fences.

They should be no more than 3 metres high for private events and should not be built under overhead cables.

Do not use petrol or any other flammable liquid to start a bonfire.

Always check inside the bonfire for animals and children who could be using them as a den.

Think about fire safety and also the pollution bonfires can create.

Crowd control

Spectators should be kept back on the opposite side to the dropping zone at least 25m from the firing area. Proper crowd control is essential and needs good planning.

Arrange for some stewards.

· Take great care at all times.

· Plan your display in advance.

· Do not allow smoking.

· Before lighting any firework, read the instructions on it carefully by torchlight.

· Make sure that the wind blows away from spectators.

· The display should be angled away from spectators.

· Never use matches or lighters for lighting fire works at a display.

A sudden change of wind could cause aerial fireworks to fall dangerously among spectators and in very windy weather you should consider putting off the display altogether, however disappointing that might be.

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