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How to stay safe on bonfire night

04 November, 2016



  • Bonfire night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks Night is an annual commemoration of the gunpowder plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, which was foiled on the 5th November 1605.
  • More than 20% of bonfire night accidents are eye injuries, and around half of those injured are children
  • Fireworks can travel at speeds of up to 150mph
  • If you are under 18 it is illegal for you to be sold fireworks
  • It is also illegal to light fireworks after 11pm
  • Throwing a firework can lead to a fine of up to £5000 as it is a criminal offence 

Bonfire safety tips

  • Make sure to build the bonfire away from any trees or buildings
  • Stand back from the fire in case any sparks catch on your clothes
  • Check the bonfire before it is lit to make sure your pets have not crawled inside
  • Don’t use any accelerants such as petrol or paraffin to help start the fire as this can quickly get out of control
  • Do not burn any synthetic materials such as plastics, rubber, or painted materials as they produce toxic fumes when burnt
  • Ensure children are supervised at all times
  • Before leaving the bonfire at the end of the party make sure to extinguish the embers by pouring water on them
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hose close by in case of emergencies

How to use a firework safely:

  • Always follow the instructions that come with the fireworks, but never read them with a naked flame if it is dark, always use torchlight
  • Protect your ears from the sound of explosions
  • Keep fireworks away from children by keeping them in a closed, metal, box and only taking them out one at a time. Do not let children light fireworks
  • Never return to a firework that has been lit, and once the firework has finished never throw it onto the bonfire as it may explode
  • Do not throw anything at the firework at any point (whether it has been lit or not)
  • Keep a bucket of water or soft earth nearby to either extinguish flames or put used fireworks in
  • Make sure no one is in the area of the firework once it has been lit, and make sure there is nothing flammable nearby, or any plants which may catch fire
  • Be prepared with the right surfaces for flat bottomed fireworks and/or Catherine wheels 

Keeping safe with sparklers:

  • Hold them at arm’s length
  • Don’t give to children under 5 years old
  • Don’t run with sparklers in your hand or nearby to them
  • Wear gloves when handling them
  • Once they have finished place them in a bucket of water
  • Don’t hold sparklers close to anyone else, especially not near to their eyes or clothes
  • Even if the sparkler has stopped burning, never touch the end of it
  • Get an adult to light the sparkler whilst you hold the base of the stick
  • Only hold one sparkler at a time, the combined heat can be very dangerous

Other tips:

  • Keep pets indoors, and close any windows and doors, and the curtains to reduce the sound of explosions. Turning on the TV will also help distract them from the noise
  • Make sure your pet is micro-chipped in case the fireworks are enough to make them run away
  • Keep warm, wrap up well in scarves, hats, gloves and coats, even if you’re having a bonfire
  • If you suffer from any health issues such as asthma or heart problems it may be best to enjoy the fireworks from inside, or to stay far back from the activities 
bonfire night graphic