Once again bonfire night is upon us where we celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes and his gang of rebels to blow up Parliament on the 5th November 1605. Typically this celebration revolves around a large outdoor fire and spectacular fireworks but this does not come without potential problems and in this article we remind you of the guidelines and best practices to keep you, your loved ones and your pets safe and sound.
The safest way to enjoy the celebrations is to join in a professionally organised event but if you have your heart set on having a display at home make sure you follow the firework code:
The Fire Brigade have good guidance on how to use fireworks safely and anyone thinking of having their own display should read them carefully and follow them. Some of the things you should consider are:
· Only buy BS7114 marked fireworks so you know they are made to a safe standard
· Don’t drink alcohol when using fireworks – you need a clear head
· Never go back to a firework that has been lit, it could still be smouldering and there is the potential for it to explode
· Never throw fireworks
· Light fireworks at arms length
· Stand well back from the firework after it has been lit
· Don’t set off fireworks after 11pm
· If you have small children consider using family friendly fireworks which are less noisy
It isn’t just fireworks that pose a risk, home bonfires can also be dangerous and need to be treated carefully. Here are some safety tips for having a bonfire at home:
· Inform your neighbours, the last thing they will want is unexpected smoke in their home
· Don’t build the bonfire near other combustible things like sheds, garden furniture, fences or trees
· Make sure there are no electricity wires or cables running above the bonfire
· Don’t use petrol or paraffin to light the bonfire
· Put up a barrier at least 5m from the fire to stop people getting too close
· Check for children or animals hiding in the fire before lighting it
· Keep several buckets of water nearby just in case!
Keeping Children safe
Bonfire night can be a mixed blessing for children with some loving the noise and the lights and others being a little more wary. Children are also less likely to understand the dansger so it is important that they are kept safe. The Huffingtonpost shares some useful advice:
· Talk to your children ahead of time to explain the rules!
· Don’t let them help out with the fireworks or the bonfire not matter how much they plead
· Sparklers burn at very high temperatures, 3 together burn at the same temperature as a welding torch. Don’t give them to children under 5, ensure they wear gloves and closely supervise your child using the sparkler. Put the spent sparkler in a bucket of sand or water
· Avoid loose clothing and ensure long hair is tied back
· Insert sparklers into carrots, children will find this far easier to hold
· Keep your child well away from both the bonfire and fireworks
· If your child is nervous then take them indoors
Looking after Pets
Although bonfires and fireworks might be really exciting to us, our pets don’t always respond well to loud noises, light flashes and bangs it can all be very stressful for them. The RSPCA has some handy advice for you which include things like:
· Walk your dog during the day to avoid times when fireworks are likely to be going off
· Close windows and curtains to keep the noise down but also to keep your pet inside
· Dampen the noise even more by putting on some music or the TV
· Build a safe den for your pet or make a nice hidey hole for them.
· Have someone stay in with them if possible to keep them comforted
Dealing with out of control fire
For these annual events it does pay to be prepared. Have buckets of sand and water, fire blankets and a fire extinguisher on hand to enable to you deal quickly with any issues. If you are in any doubt about your ability to deal with an outof control fire, evacuate to a safe distance and call 999.
Did you know?
Until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate bonfire night in the UK!
Bonfire night is a long standing and fun tradition but it isn’t without risks. By taking into account these helpful hints and tips you can enjoy the festivities whilst keeping yourself, your children and your pets safe and sound.