How to Stay Safe on Bonfire Night | The Range
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Crowd Watching Bonfire Night

How to Stay Safe on Bonfire Night

Autumn is here and it brings with it a non-stop show of celebrations, one of which is Bonfire Night. Whether you’re at a big public event or in your own garden, warm bonfires and colourful firework displays will bring some much-needed sparkle to the dark November evenings. However, fire and gunpowder can be dangerous and every year hundreds of people are severely injured in preventable accidents on this usually-fun night. So, here are a few words of warning to help you enjoy this time of the year without any disasters.


bonfire night safety eci

Bonfire Safety

Bonfires should be built away from fences, sheds, trees and overhead electrical cables, preferably somewhere that’s sheltered from strong winds. It’s best to use dry material as anything damp or wet will create a lot of smoke which can be dangerous to people with asthma or bronchitis. You should also let your neighbours know if you plan on having a large bonfire. Build the bonfire the same day as you intend to burn it, or hedgehogs and other small animals might make their home in the wood pile. It’s really important you don’t start the fire with petrol or paraffin, as this can cause the flames to quickly get out of control. Finally, keep a bucket of water handy for any emergencies and, once you are ready to leave the fire, cover the embers with water to extinguish it completely. An alternative to traditional built-up bonfires are fire pits and chimeneas, which can be topped up with wood throughout the evening.

bonfire safety advice guide

Sparkler Safety

Sparklers are cheap and fun, but can reach temperatures of up to 200°C! It’s really important to supervise children around sparklers, making sure they keep them at arm's length and don’t wave them in each other’s faces or drop them onto anything flammable. It’s a good idea to have a metal box where you can store away used sparkler sticks, as these can cause serious burns after they’ve been used.

Firework Safety

Even small fireworks can cause damage, with little rockets travelling up to 150mph. Always buy fireworks that are stamped with the safety standard BS 7114. Store unused fireworks in a closed box and keep them dry. When you are ready to use them, read the instructions thoroughly and light them at arm's length with a taper. Make sure there's plenty of space and clear sky, directing them away from people, houses, trees, and overhead cables. Never go back to a lit firework or try to re-light it, some take a while to burn and it could explode in your face! While bonfires are usually social events, don’t drink until all the fireworks have been let off.  Alcohol impairs judgement, and you could put others at risk if you don’t handle them properly. Put used fireworks into a tub of water and dispose of them in a bin at the end of the night. Don’t put them on the bonfire!

We understand that most of this is common sense, but with a staggering number of A&E visits each year, half of which are for young children, it’s important to remember that fireworks are not toys. They can cause real damage, but if used safely, can provide an evening of fun and entertainment for the whole family.

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