November 5th is fast approaching. In the sustained sugar rush between Halloween treats and toffee apples, children are bursting with excitement.
You’ll want bonfire parties to go off with a bang but fireworks can reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, and sparklers can reach temperatures 15 times boiling point. So it’s important to consider safety as well as making sure everyone has a good time.
To help, here are our top 10 fireworks safety tips:
- Consider whether your garden is suitable. There are minimum safety distance guidelines for fireworks. These vary considerably so check the packaging before you purchase fireworks for your display. If your garden is too small, why not visit an organised display and bring people back to yours for an after party?
- Store your fireworks in a closed box, away from naked flames. In the run-up to the night itself, make sure the box is kept in a cool and dry place, out of the reach of children.
- Make sure you buy your fireworks from a trusted supplier/store. Your fireworks must have the product safety marking BS7114 (which is a British standard) and carry a CE mark (which is a European standard). Fireworks that do not have these accreditations have not been approved for use in the UK.
- If you’re going to be setting off the fireworks, make sure that you don’t drink alcohol until afterwards. You should use a torch so you can clearly see the fireworks instructions in the dark.
- Only set fireworks off one at a time. Never return to one that you’ve lit, even if you think it needs lighting again.
- Never pour petrol or paraffin onto your bonfire, and make sure that everyone stays well back.
- If smoke from your bonfire could potentially blow onto a nearby road you may need to rethink your plans. You could put people’s lives at risk and face a fine.
- Never leave a bonfire unsupervised. You need to wait until it’s completely extinguished before you head indoors. To stop it reigniting, pour plenty of water on it.
- You should never mess around with fireworks; they can be deadly. Throwing a firework is very dangerous and you could be fined £5,000.
- Supervise children at all times, especially when handling sparklers. You should make sure they’re wearing gloves, holding the sparklers at arm’s length and that any long hair is tied back. A popular trick is to stick the sparkler in a carrot to make it easier and safer to hold! There needs to be buckets of water within easy reach.
Think about your pets
As well as considering the safety of the people who’ll be attending your party, you need to protect your pets too. If you have rabbits or guinea pigs, it’s sensible to move their hutches into a garage or other quiet place. Cats and dogs can become very distressed so should be kept inside in a secure room. They might benefit from having a radio or TV on in the room to drown out the noise of the fireworks. If you can, have someone sit with them to reassure them that things are okay.
Is your home covered?
A stray firework can break your window, set your shed or fence on fire, or damage your roof. It could also cause damage to a neighbouring property and you need to make sure that you’re covered if someone gets injured. So do check your home insurance policy – most of the details will be in your policy book, if you’re unsure ask your insurer to check and let you know what your policy includes.
We hope you have an amazing, accident-free bonfire night with your friends and family.