Stay Safe this Bonfire Night

Fire Safety By Matthew Coombes

Firework Safety

In light of the lack of public events to attend this year due to lockdown, many of us have considered planning a fireworks display. If you’re looking to put on a home display this Bonfire Night you must remember that fireworks are explosives and can be incredibly unpredictable.

Us health and safety professionals don’t want to stop your kids from using sparklers, we just want them to be wearing non-flammable gloves so that they don’t get burned!

With that all being said, below are some steps that you can take to help everyone enjoy the fireworks safely.

Buy the right fireworks for the space that you have:

Category 2 Fireworks are typically suitable for a family’s back garden display, whereas category 3 Fireworks require a minimum safe distance of 25 meters, which is often far bigger than the average back garden. These fireworks can be purchased by members of the public, but are designed for large displays.
Category 4 fireworks are only for professional use and should not be used in a home display.

Don’t be fooled into buying unsuitable fireworks because they’re cheaper or bigger.

Make sure that fireworks are pointed in the right direction:

Be careful not to point your fireworks in the direction of people and animals. Ensure that you’re not going to do damage to another person’s home or property, and pay particular attention not to direct your rockets at things like overhead power cables, dry fields/woods, farms and livestock areas.

Be careful of debris:

The whole point of a fireworks display is to watch the explosions, but if fireworks are exploding directly overhead of your display or another person’s property, you may inadvertently be dropping debris down on unsuspecting people. This is particularly the case with rockets, as the stick that you launch your rocket from will nearly always be built to go with it, and what goes up, must come down.
Spent rockets can still contain gunpowder, so make sure to dispose of them properly, don’t throw them on to a fire.

When you’re cleaning up debris make sure not to pick anything up barehanded, as it may still be hot.

Use a torch to read any instructions:

Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised. Don’t use a naked flame to read the instructions of fireworks, you may inadvertently set them off.

Don’t return to a firework once lit:

Every firework is different, and sometimes they can be very slow to start once lit and you should keep well clear of fireworks that have failed to go off.

Keep children away from the displays:

Children are often fascinated by fireworks, and sometimes this can mean that they get too close. Make sure that any little ones are well supervised and well away from where the fireworks are being set off, or where they are being directed.

Wear suitable clothing:

Make sure that you, and any attendees are not wearing clothing that is marked to be kept away from naked flames. Some clothing articles may catch fire, or burn easily and should not be worn near the display in case anything goes wrong.

If you have any concerns regarding the safety of putting on a home fireworks display after reading this article then do one of two things:
Choice 1. Don’t put on a fireworks display.
Choice 2. Read more safety information until you feel that everything will be sufficiently safe. If you don’t feel like you can put on a safe fireworks display, refer to choice 1.
(You can freely access the UK’s Health and Safety Executive’s advice here, and take into account the parts of the guidance that apply to your situation.)


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