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Follow the Firework Safety Code for a Fantastic Firework Display
Fireworks are lovely to watch, but potentially lethal. As they appear to be becoming more and more popular around the world, at all times of the year, here’s some Firework Safety Code tips for Bonfire Night, Fourth of July, and even your own wedding, to ensure a fantastic firework display for you and your children.
Ask yourself if you really need a bonfire and, if so, does your local council allow it? It’s much better and safer to go to an organised display, but if you really want one make sure it’s at least 18 metres away from houses, trees or anything else flammable. Always check for hidden animals before you light it, and don’t use petrol, paraffin or other flammable liquids. It also goes without saying that you shouldn’t put used fireworks, aerosols, batteries, tins of paint or tyres on a bonfire.
A simple sparkler reaches a temperature of up to 2,000°C and so should be handled with care. Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves and never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand. Once your sparkler has finished, put the hot end into a bucket of water and leave them in the bucket as they can stay hot for a long time. Always supervise children using sparklers and show them how to hold sparklers away from their body and at arm’s length and not to wave sparklers near anyone else.
Before your firework display, check the fireworks you buy conform to British Standards (BS 7114; 1988) and prepare the display area and ensure it is free from hazards. Warn neighbours, especially the elderly and those with animals, about your display. A good idea is to read the instructions beforehand in daylight and also to designate one person to be in charge.
Before you begin, gather the following:
- Metal box, with a lid, for storage of fireworks.
- Torch for checking instructions.
- Bucket of water.
- Protective hat, eye protection and gloves.
- First aid kit.
- Bucket of soft earth to stick fireworks in.
- A board for flat-bottomed fireworks.
- Suitable supports for catherine wheels.
- Proper launchers for rockets.
Looking for firework safety kit? Click here for a link to a wealth of products on Amazon which may help.
Try and get the kids involved in firework safety from an early age, by involving them using stickers to spread the message:
The Firework Code
Young people should watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance and follow the safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should deal with firework displays and the lighting of fireworks. They should also take care of the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used.
- Plan your fantastic firework display to make it safe and enjoyable.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them. (It is a criminal offence to do so in a street or other public place, with a maximum penalty of a £5000 fine.)
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.
Safety in an emergency:
- Keep calm. You can’t help if you’re panicking.
- Cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes.
- Never rub butter, oil or ointment into a burn.
- Cut around material sticking to the skin – don’t pull it off.
- Take off any tight belts or jewellery that the injured person is wearing as burned skin can swell.
- Don’t touch the burn or burst any blisters.
- Cover the burn with clean, smooth, non-fluffy material (like clingfilm), to keep out infection until it can be properly dressed.
- If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material like a curtain.
- Unless the burn is very small, go to hospital.
- If the burn is very serious, or the person is (or was) unconscious, dial 999.
- Don’t give a seriously burned person anything to eat or drink after the accident, in case there’s a need for anaesthetic at the hospital.