Staying safe with fireworks and bonfires

Be it Guy Fawkes Night, New Year’s Eve or just a special occasion, fireworks can be a fab way to celebrate! But it’s important to stay safe while you’re enjoying the whizzes and bangs. We’ve put together some top tips to help keep you safe and make sure your night stays focused on the fun if you’re having a bonfire or firework display at home.

Pick the right fireworks

When you head off to buy your fireworks, think first about how big your garden is, and if you’ve got room to let them off safely. Any fireworks for sale to the public should be classified as either Category F2 or F3, which give guidance on noise levels, the amount of space you need to leave around them, and ensures they have clear instructions and a safety fuse. If you’ve got a smaller garden, check on the label to make sure the fireworks you’re thinking of don’t need you to stand further away than you’re able to.

Prep in the daylight

No one wants to be fumbling around in the dark setting up their fireworks display – especially as you might miss out on the party snacks if you’re busy when your guests arrive! So get everything ready, including your bonfire if you’re having one, during the daytime so it’s all set up as safely as possible. Grab a bucket of water and have it nearby just in case of an accident.

Pick the perfect spot

Pick your spot carefully avoiding any buildings, sheds, fences and hedges. If you’ve got any rocket style fireworks, direct these away from where people will be watching the display, and keep an eye to avoid anything else like trees or buildings in their path. Don’t forget to double check how far away everyone needs to be from the fireworks as well – this should be written on the label for your fireworks.

Time to get things started!

If you’re having a bonfire, steer clear of using anything like lighter fuel, petrol, or paraffin. If you think it might need some help to get it going, firelighters are a far safer option. Before you light the bonfire check it hasn’t attracted any furry or prickly visitors – cats, hedgehogs and even squirrels have been known to shelter inside them, so make sure no unexpected guests are hiding inside. Grab a torch so you can read and follow the instructions for each firework carefully. Always use a taper and light the firework at arm’s length – keep any naked flames, cigarettes, lighters etc. well away from the fireworks. Once you’ve lit the firework, stand well back (take a jog down the garden to join your guests ideally), and never return to a lit firework.

Feeling sparkly?

Sparklers can be a great addition to the party, but can be surprisingly dangerous – they can burn at the same temperature as a welding torch! Make sure everyone handling one wears gloves and holds them at arm’s length, and is really careful not to wave them around close to other people or anything flammable. Don’t hold a baby or young child in your arms while you’re holding a sparkler either. Once it’s burnt out, pop it straight into a bucket of cold water.

When the party’s over…

Before you head indoors to enjoy a nice hot chocolate, pour a bucket of cold water on the bonfire, and check it’s fully out – don’t just leave it to burn out overnight. Make sure surroundings are made safe too.

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