Firework Safety – Tips for Staying Safe on Bonfire Night 

November 5, 2021

The ghouls and ghosts of Halloween have gone back into hiding – but the Autumn festivities are only getting started. Bonfire Night and Diwali are now upon us, and since we’ll actually be able to celebrate them properly this year, they’re sure to be belters.  

However, for all the fun of fireworks, bonfires, and sparklers, there is an equal amount of danger. According to NHS digital, there were almost 2,000 cases of firework-related A&E admissions in 2018/19. Additionally, more than 35,000 people sought advice from the NHS website on how to treat burns and scalds.  

While most people who run into firework trouble can be patched up in A&E and sent home the same day, more severe injuries can and do occur. Sadly, there are a number of families who remember Bonfire Night for all the wrong reasons.   

To make Bonfire Night safer – and more enjoyable – for you and your family, there are a number of simple safety precautions you can take. Here are our top tips for staying safe on bonfire night! 

Fireworks

Firework Safety Tips 

Without a doubt, the safest way to enjoy a firework display is to attend a public, organised, regulated event. However, we understand that many people like to host firework displays in their homes, in which case, the following precautions must be taken to assure the safety of all who attend.  

  • Only buy fireworks with a CE (European conformity) mark. 
  • Never return to or go near a firework that has been lit but not gone off. 
  • Never keep fireworks in your pocket – store them in a closed metal box, and remove them one at a time. 
  • Never leave children unattended.  
  • Read instructions and navigate the garden by torchlight, not by an open flame.   
  • Ensure that the fireworks aren’t too big for your garden. 
  • Ensure projectile fireworks are pointing directly upwards. 
  • Never throw a used firework onto a bonfire.  
  • Use a rigid board or base for flat-bottomed fireworks. 
  • Keep pets inside. 
  • Remember that it is illegal to light fireworks after 11 pm (except for New Year). 

 

Bonfire Safety Tips 

To be frank, there is no such thing as a completely safe bonfire. We are therefore duty-bound to urge you to think twice about having a bonfire – they are a big, blazing accident just waiting to happen.  

Alas, it is called ‘Bonfire Night’ for a reason. If you are going to be in the presence of a bonfire, or if you are determined to build one yourself, please observe the following precautions: 

  • Ensure your bonfire is built far away from trees, buildings, sheds, wooden fences, and children’s play areas. 
  • Ensure the bonfire is sturdy and built upon a solid base. 
  • Check the bonfire for hiding pets or wild animals before lighting.  
  • Never light a bonfire with paraffin, petrol, or other flammable liquids.  
  • Never throw dangerous items such as aerosol cans, batteries, foam furniture, or paint tins onto a bonfire. 
  • Don’t get too close. 
  • Never leave a bonfire unattended – an adult should supervise it for as long as it is lit. 
  • Never leave children unattended in the vicinity of a bonfire.  
  • Keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby. 
  • Check the weather – don’t light the bonfire if there are high winds.  

 

Sparkler Safety Tips 

Fireworks and Sparklers

Sparklers are magic little things. Fun to use and fun to watch, they are a staple of any great Bonfire Night. 

However, although sparklers are often perceived as ‘safe fireworks’, it’s important not to underestimate them. In reality, they are a mixture of flammable chemicals on a wire or stick, capable of burning up to six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil, and are thus very dangerous if mishandled. 

To keep your children safe with sparklers, teach them the following tips – or at least keep a very close eye on them! 

  • Always hold sparklers while standing up, not sitting down. 
  • Always wear gloves. 
  • Wear closed-toe shoes (you’d have to be pretty crazy to wear sandals in November!). 
  • Light the sparkler whilst the child is holding it – don’t pass an already lit sparkler. 
  • Make sure the sparkler is at arm’s length while being lit.   
  • Be wary of lighting more than one sparkler at a time.  
  • Everyone using a sparkler should keep a distance from others, at least six feet. 
  • Never toss or throw a sparkler. 
  • Never hold a baby in your arms while holding a sparkler.  
  • Sparklers remain hot long after they go out – dispose of them in a bucket of water.  
  • Avoid giving sparklers to under-5s. 

 

First Aid for Burns and Scalds 

If you or someone else suffers a minor burn, it should be treated immediately. First, remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of the skin.   

Next, hold the affected area under cold, running water for 20 minutes. Once the burn has been cooled, it should be wrapped with a burn dressing or cling film. 

Be sure to keep yourself or the person warm with blankets or layers of clothing – but make sure that nothing is touching the affected area. 

Treat the pain with painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Do not exceed the recommended dosage, and do not give aspirin to children under the age of 16.  

Stay upright as much as possible to avoid swelling.  

If the affected person’s condition worsens – e.g, they go into shock – take them straight to A&E.

    

Severe Burns 

For any large burns (bigger than the affected person’s hand), deep burns, blistering burns, or burns of any size that cause white or charred skin, call 999 immediately.  

Whilst waiting for the ambulance, remove all clothing and jewellery from the affected area, cool the burn under cold running water for 20 minutes, and keep the affected person warm with blankets or layers of clothing. Consider lying the person down and elevating their legs – this will help with the shock.     

Smoke Inhalation 

If bonfire smoke fumes are inhaled, move the affected person far away from the bonfire so they can breathe some fresh air. Help them get comfortable, loosen any tight clothing around their neck and chest, and help them to breathe normally.  

If they don’t recover quickly, call 999.  

 

Stay Safe; Enjoy the Show! 

This should be enough information to keep you and your family safe this Diwali and Bonfire Night – but when it comes to first aid, you can never be too prepared! Check out our courses if you’re interested in becoming first aid trained, or explore the rest of our blog for more first aid tips.   

Otherwise, stay safe out there, and enjoy the fireworks! 

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