Bonfire night can be real fun but there’s also an element of safety to consider. Obviously the safest thing you can do is to go to an organised event. This could be one local or further afield such as at a theme park. But this is not always practical especially with young children, maybe a small affair at home.
When building a bonfire you really have to consider the location. Make sure it is away from trees and buildings, in a location which is open but not too windy. Geoffrey Counsell was charged with failing to ensure the safety of others after he ran a firework display at Taunton’s Rugby Club grounds, which was adjacent to the M5 motorway. It is believed that a large cloud of smoke from the firework display blew across to the motorway resulting in the death of 7 people, and further injuring 51 others. It is also important to check that no animals have made themselves at home in the fire before lighting. Make sure everyone stands well back from a fire – even at the organised event last year we found that the distance we were from the fire extremely hot. Saying that, make sure you wrap up warm, as it is cold in November especially when you move away from the fire. You may want to avoid it if you suffer with asthma; if not maybe not stand so close and remember to take your inhaler.
When putting on a firework display consider any pets that may be upset. If you have a dog, then take them for a long walk before the event. Make sure that you have bought safe fireworks – look for ones marked with the British Standard Number. Remember to wear gloves when lighting fireworks. If you are having a small garden party use a taper to light the fire (usually provided with the fireworks), these do not produce a flame but rather a gentle glow. Do not use cigarettes, lighters, candles, or other fireworks to light a firework. Again stand well back from where the fireworks are being lit. Never throw a firework, it is dangerous and you can be fined up to £5,000. Never go back to a lit firework – have a bucket of water at hand. Do not light fireworks after 11pm (apparently this is illegal – not sure what happens New Year or if that is an exception).
Sparklers are not recommended for children under 5 years old. They can reach temperatures of up to 1600 degrees centigrade and are even more deadly when more than one is combined together. Make sure children are wearing gloves and keep them at arms-length. A child should only hold one sparkler at a time and they should be disregarded in a bucket of water.