Written by: Steven Petter
Bonfire and Firework Safety
We’ve all cringed at a 2 year old holding a sparkler with a bare hand at the local fare and I’m convinced that anything combustible should come with a mandatory IQ test prior to purchase. That said, if you follow some simple rules for bonfire night safety then it’s easy to have a really good time with the family.
The first one is a no-brainer, only ever buy fireworks from a reputable and licensed dealer. If you are buying your fireworks out of the back of a van in the local boot sale then expect there to be problems – if it comes to saving money, then just ask what price you are willing to pay if they go wrong?
All fireworks come with clear instructions on how to use them, make sure you read these instructions and follow them and don’t be tempted to let your little boy light one because he has pestered you all night, it’s dangerous so don’t do it. These rules usually cover position of your fireworks but just to be safe, make sure you have them in the middle of a clearing with no overhanging trees, point them directly up, never angled and make sure they are very secure in the ground before lighting them.
Bonfires are pretty similar:
- Don’t light one right up against your house, or your neighbours house.
- Make sure you only use wood on your bonfire, don’t throw the sofa on and make sure there isn’t anything explosive that could create a greater area of danger.
- Ensure there are no trees, telephone wires or other bodies over the bonfire that may get set alight and cause you problems.
- When lighting your bonfire use fire lighters, don’t dowse the ten feet high stack of pallets with petrol. If you use kindling and fire lighters and the wood will do the work for you.
- For both Bonfires and Fireworks make sure you have a torch so you aren’t fumbling around in the dark for something hot and always make sure you have a couple of buckets of water ready to dispose of anything hot.
- Be aware of the ground catching fire – if a fire starts to spread then get on it quickly. You might want to invest in gloves and goggles to protect yourself and remember burning wood will hurt and treated wood may pop and spit.
Keep your spectators as far away from the area you are working in as possible to minimise the danger to them and ensure that one person has overall control of the display so that you avoid the risk of multiple fireworks being let off while there are people nearby. If somebody does get burnt then treat that burn with nothing but cool water, keep the area clean and contact the emergency services or take them straight to the hospital. If your fire gets out of control and you start to feel you have lost it, then contact the fire department as soon as possible then start clearing spectators away from the area, don’t be a hero. Most importantly have a really good time, share this time with your family and enjoy the evening, stay smart and stay safe.