Top Tips For Bonfire And Firework Safety
31 October 2017
For many people, fireworks are one of the highlights of the Halloween and Bonfire Night season but despite annual warnings there’s still an unacceptably high number of painful injuries caused as a result of firework misuse each year.
By far the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display, but many people will still choose to have a fireworks party at home.
If you are planning on running your own fireworks display this year, RoSPA has the following advice and tips to make sure everyone can enjoy themselves safely:
Firework Safety Tips
In Northern Ireland, it’s been estimated that nearly 90% of people who are injured by fireworks are under the age of 18. As a result, only adults should be involved with the setting up and lighting of fireworks. Children and younger people should instead stand back and watch from a safe distance.
In order to prevent injuries and have a safer fireworks party, RoSPA recommends sticking to the following tips:
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
- Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit
- Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
Sparkler Safety Tips
Compared to fireworks, sparklers are often regarded as being relatively harmless, but despite their benign appearance they in fact burn at temperatures equivalent to those of a welding torch.
As a result, they can pose an extreme burn risk if improperly handled. To avoid injury, you can follow these simple sparkler safety tips:
- Sparklers should not be given to under-5s
- Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves
- Hold sparklers at arm’s length while being lit
- Don’t wave sparklers about close to other people
- Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler
- When the sparkler has finished put it in a bucket of cold water.
Bonfire Safety Tips
Bonfires are also popular around the autumn period, but can prove deadly if they’re allowed to get out of control. RoSPA advises that one person should be designated as being responsible for the bonfire, and that the following rules should be kept to:
- Choose a site away from wooden fences, sheds and where children will be playing
- Never pour petrol, paraffin or meths on to a fire - it’s safer to use fire lighters to prevent flare-ups
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case of an accident
- Avoid loose clothing and tie back long hair
- After the party, pour water on the fire, rather than leaving it to burn out.
Other Safety Tips
Although Halloween and Bonfire Night parties can be great fun, you should always act responsibly and be considerate to those around you, particularly anyone with pets and other vulnerable people.
Many animals find fireworks scary with nearly half of all dogs and cats in the UK estimated to show signs of fear when they hear fireworks. If you’re hosting a fireworks party you should stay aware of anyone around you who owns pets, and if you have a pet of your own you can use the following tips to look after them during the Bonfire season.
As well as that, the sight, sound and smell of fireworks can trigger upsetting flashbacks and frightening memories for many veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You can find out more information on the Shoulder to Soldier website here.