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How to stay safe on bonfire night

Reading time: 2 mins 50 secs

First4Lawyers, October 26, 2017

Bonfire night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks Night, marks the gunpowder plot of 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

It is celebrated with large bonfires and firework events - some lavish, public occasions and some held in private in people's back gardens.

It's a real visual spectacle, but sadly it's one of the riskiest times of year in terms of injury.  Did you know that:

  • More than 20% of bonfire night accidents are eye injuries.
  • Around half of those injured are children.
  • Fireworks can travel at speeds of up to 150mph.
  • It's illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.
  • It is also illegal to light fireworks after 11pm.
  • Throwing a firework can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 as it is a criminal offence.


Bonfire night safety tips

  • Always build the bonfire away from any trees or buildings.
  • Stand well back from the fire, as sparks can land on clothing.
  • Check the bonfire before lighting it,  to make sure no pets or wildlife have crawled inside.
  • Don’t use accelerants like petrol or paraffin to help start the fire - it 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.


Firework safety

  • Always follow the instructions that come with the fireworks, but never read them with a naked flame if it is dark - use a torch!
  • Protect young children's ears from loud bangs by using ear defenders or ear plugs. 
  • Keep fireworks away from children by keeping them in a closed, metal box and only take them out one at a time.
  • Never let children light fireworks.
  • Never return to a firework that has been lit.
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand or soft earth nearby to extinguish flames or dispose of used fireworks.
  • Make sure no one is in the area of the firework once it has been lit, and make sure there is nothing flammable nearby.
  • Make sure fireworks that need fixing, like catherine wheels, are attached securely. 


Keeping safe with sparklers

  • Hold them at arm’s length
  • Don’t give to children under 5 years old
  • 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
  • An adult should always be in charge of lighting sparklers
  • Only hold one sparkler at a time, the combined heat can be very dangerous


Pets on firework night

  • Keep pets indoors  - close windows, doors, curtains to reduce the sound of explosions.
  • Turn on the TV or radio to help distract them from the noise.
  • Try using a plug-in calming device if your pet is nervous or scared.
  • Make sure your pet is micro-chipped in case they run away in fright.

Have fun, but always stay safe on 5th November.


Infographic stay safe this bonfire night


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