Bonfire Night Safety: be safe not sorry

In the months of October and November last year, there were 990 injuries caused by fireworks. With Bonfire Night quickly approaching, it’s important that you take the proper safety precautions to stay safe.

November 5th marks the celebration of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and every year across the UK, there are bonfires and fireworks to mark the event. However, it’s important you know how to stay safe at bonfires and at home with firework displays.

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Public and private firework displays

Did you know that fireworks can travel at speeds of up to 150mph? Because of this, you must always be careful when handling and lighting fireworks. Of the 990 injuries caused by fireworks last year, 475 of them happened at private events, like the firework displays you have at home.

Organised bonfire events can be a safer option for many, as only 121 of those injuries happened at a public display. It is currently advised that when lighting fireworks, they must be more than 18m from houses, trees, hedges and fences, to avoid any sparks or embers landing on them and starting a fire.

Remember to keep a bucket of water near you, use soil to stabilise your fireworks and also pour water on any bonfire embers at the end of the night. If your firework doesn’t take off like expected, do not approach a burning firework.

Bonfire night precautions

Remember to blow out all candles before you go to bed. Don’t leave candles burning as they are a potential fire hazard. Put them out before they start a fire.

It is best to test your fire alarms before bonfire night, as the fire risks are significantly increased around this time of year.

You should only buy regulated fireworks from reputable stores. Fireworks which meet the current regulations are marked with a BS 7114 kitemark. Always remember to store your fireworks in a closed metal box before the event.

Make sure you are wearing the correct clothing for fireworks and sparklers, including protective gloves. If anyone gets burnt by a sparkler, firework or bonfire, make sure you are aware of the correct first aid procedure.

If you are doing your own firework display, be mindful of overhead power lines and make sure to tell your neighbours if you are planning a bonfire.

Check in on elderly relatives, friends of neighbours this time of year, remember that they are more vulnerable at this time of year.

Pet safety on Bonfire Night

The sudden loud noises that come with fireworks can frighten many pets as they don’t understand what is happening around them. Animals will usually associate these sudden, high pitched noises with danger, so it is expected that most will seek refuge in a hidden space in your home.

With dogs, ensure that they have had a good, long walk before it gets dark and fireworks come out. Keep your pets inside, in order for them to feel safe and secure while fireworks are going off.

80% of pets have a phobia of fireworks, so we recommend closing the curtains, blinds and windows, to try and keep as much sound and bright lights out as possible. Turning the TV or radio on sometimes can help to distract them from the noise.

If your pets hide in a small space in your home, do not try to draw them out, leave them there as they have found a comfortable, safe space for a reason.

It isn’t just your pets you should consider at Bonfire night, we also advise you to let any farmers nearby that you are planning a firework display, so that they can plan their safety precautions in advance.

Child safety on Bonfire Night

Sparklers are the common choice for children at Bonfire Night, but did you know that one sparkler can heat up to 2,000°C? That is 20 times the boiling point of water, which is why it’s important that you teach your children about safety at this time of year.

Last year, 494 children were injured by sparklers or fireworks, so it is best not to take risks. Keep all children a good distance away from fireworks or bonfires.

Never let children under 5 handle sparklers and always remember to dispose of sparklers correctly, in a bucket of water.

EC4U wish you all a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night!

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