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Keeping children safe at Bonfire Night

Fireworks

Guy Fawkes night is almost here so here are a few tips to keeping children safe when visiting a display or organising your own home firework display.

Organised display

A great way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a well organised display. Most places are near to an organised display often run annually by an organisation such as: Local council, Fire and Rescue Service, Charity fund-raising organisation (eg. Lions / Round Circle) or youth organisation (eg. Scouts).

If you attend an event such as these make sure that you identify the safety features when you visit. Do you know where the emergency exits are, is there first aid provided (eg. St John Ambulance) where are the safety barriers? You must ensure that children never cross any of the safety barriers put in place.

You should never take fireworks including sparklers into a organised fireworks event. Sparklers should be saved to use at home as they are not suitable for using where there are large crowds.

Holding your own home fireworks display

If you decide instead to run your own display at home then you will need to plan the event to ensure it is as safe as possible.

This guidance is for running your own private display at home - if organising a display for members of the public then you will need to follow the instructions in the Health and Safety Purple Guide.

Plan the position of your fireworks to ensure that sufficient distance is provided between the fireworks and the spectators and that there is appropriate positions to mount the fireworks.

Have buckets of water on hand in case of emergency or to douse any fireworks that don't work correctly.

Know First Aid. First aid is understood best by attending a formal course, but at a minimum you need to be familiar with the Burns advise from St John Ambulance and the First Aid Manual.

Only buy fireworks from a reputable source and that they meet appropriate safety standards (eg. BS 7114)

If using sparklers then ensure the instructions on the packaging are followed. Wear gloves and after they are used place the sparkler into a bucket of water or suitable container. Remember that sparklers remain hot for sometime after they have finished.

Always follow the Firework Code

This list is not exhaustive. You should ensure you follow any advise included with the fireworks and seek professional advise if required (see link below).

Follow the Firework Code

  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Remove fireworks one at a time
  • Follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if required
  • Direct the fireworks away from spectators
  • Light the fireworks using a taper at arms length
  • Stand well back from the firework
  • Never return to a firework when it is lit
  • Keep naked flames away from fireworks
  • Don't put fireworks in pockets
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Ensure pets are safely indoors

Bonfires

If you also plan to have a bonfire then you need to ensure sufficient distance between the bonfire and any outbuildings, fences or trees and that spectators are kept well away. Never use flammable materials or liquids to start or add to a fire and never put fireworks (used or otherwise) onto a bonfire.

Ensure there is sufficient water or fire extinguishers immediately to hand.

Never leave a bonfire unattended once lit.

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