Dear Mummy, despite annual safety warnings, Bonfire Night still ends in disaster for far too many families. It worries us alot especially as I’m a crazy impatient toddler that can’t sit still. My mummy worries that I might run in front of a firework being lit or burn myself with a sparkler.
However, fireworks and bonfire evenings can provide fun and entertainment for families at a time of year when the evenings are rather dark and gloomy. They literally light up the sky with bright colours and bring joy to a lot of children. As long as everyone follows the right safety procedures and remembers that fireworks can be dangerous if misused, a good, safe time may be enjoyed by everyone.
We’ve searched the internet and here is some advice for staying safe and enjoying the fireworks this year.
Purchase. Only buy fireworks that comply with the British Standard – BS7114. This number will be marked on the firework casing. Don’t be tempted to buy second-hand or off Facebay, as you don’t know how they have been handled or stored and there is no comeback! Don’t cut corners just to save a few quid. Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop to make sure that they conform to British Standards.
Space. Is your garden large enough? I know ours isn’t for anything bigger than roman candles. Some fireworks require minimum spectator safety distances of 25 metres (82 feet). Many domestic gardens are just not that large. If you want larger fireworks why not head to a professional display?
Prep. Preparation is key. Make sure you have water buckets and some towels or blankets nearby to extinguish flames. A torch to see and some eye protection and gloves. Use a bucket of soft earth to put disused or misfired fireworks into.
Animals. Many animals do not like bonfires or fireworks. The flames and noise upsets them. They should always be kept safely indoors. Make sure that they cannot get out through open windows and doors. It is best to keep the curtains closed too and it may be necessary to keep them indoors for several nights around November 5. My cat, Gizzy, hates Fireworks and usually hides under the sofa.
Always read the instructions. Remember that different types of fireworks require different handling. If the instructions require specific “launching surfaces” (e.g. soft soil to bury the firework base, or a flat surface to stand on) ensure you have suitable surfaces prepared beforehand. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
Action. Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back. Have one adult responsible for lighting all the fireworks. My daddy will be taking on this job as my mummy is slightly scared at lighting fireworks. Only light one at a time, as some have fuse times as short as just 3 seconds – how far away can you get in just 3 seconds? Have an exit strategy. Always light at arm’s length using a slow burning fuse as supplied in all boxed selections. Use a torch to illuminate the launch site and to read the instructions. 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. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
Sparklers. Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? Sparklers are not toys and should never be given to a child under five. Keep children away from fireworks, and make them wear a glove to hold sparklers – preferably leather ones. (Sparklers cause the most injuries to young children of any fireworks). When the sparkler has finished, put it into a bucket of cold water straight away and leave it there.
Tidy. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving. Do not throw failed fireworks onto a bonfire! Obvious I know, but when you are caught up in the moment you might not think.
We hope everyone has a very safe and enjoyable Fireworks weekend this year and look forward to seeing everyone’s pictures.
Love Bella x