Bright lights, the excitement of sparklers and the smell of gunpowder mark the start of winter in the UK. Each November 5th we come together to remember Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up the Palace of Westminster in 1605 – and this Tuesday many of us across the UK will have been out doing just that. But this is only the start… the past week has also seen many people in the UK starting celebrations for Diwali and as we move into winter and the festive celebrations, we can expect lots more fireworks! Many of us choose to celebrate these occasions at home and if we do, we need to take special precautions to make sure that everyone has a safe night.
Fireworks are mesmerising to look at, but they can be extremely dangerous if you don’t follow the instructions and fire safety is not kept in mind. Many can travel up to 150mph and in 2017-2018 NHS A&E services saw 4,436 fireworks injuries! Despite the fun you can have it’s important to remember that they are explosives. Here is our guide to staying safe around fireworks…
- First things first: when you’re buying fireworks, check that they are legal. They should always have CE and BS 7114 written on the box to confirm they have been approved by British Standards.
- Before you start using them, make sure you read and follow all the instructions carefully for each firework.
- Prepare for your evening by making sure you have a torch, buckets of water, a bucket of soft earth, gloves and eye protection.
- Place fireworks in a bucket of sand, or flat-bottomed ones on a board and angle them away from your home and anyone watching.
- If your garden or patio is very small, if you are in a very built up area or if you’re living in a large block of flats, think twice about having your own fireworks. If there isn’t a lot of space for them to fly in, accidents can happen much more easily.
- Be considerate of your neighbours; it is illegal to set off fireworks after midnight. On New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali (which takes place on 11th November this year) the cut-off point is 1am. If you are caught using or selling fireworks illegally you could be fined £90 on the spot or up to £5000!
- Appoint a ‘designated detonator’; if you’re having a bit of a party, the person in charge of the fireworks needs to stay sober.
- Inform everybody at the party what the safety precautions are, such as where buckets are for sparklers and where the nearest exit is.
- Sparklers can get as hot as fryer fat. Make sure that everybody using them is wearing gloves and they are never given to the under 5s.
Animals can get particularly frightened around fireworks. Make sure they are indoors and curtains are closed whenever there are fireworks around to reduce noise. You could also put on the television to drown out some of the noise.
Stay safe swappers.
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