Bonfire Night Safety Tips – Have Fun & Stay Safe
Ah, the longstanding British tradition of bonfire night; love or hate it, it happens every year. With that being said, it’s not always a night that ends well for many – in fact, NHS Digital revealed that almost 2,000 people ended up in A&E due to firework-related injuries in 2018-2019 – scarier yet, the vast majority were young people, with around half being under the age of 16. The team at Excel has put together some bonfire night safety tips, along with the basic laws and regulations surrounding them – so you can have fun and stay safe this November 5th.
Bonfire night safety basics
It’s important to stick to your timings. Year-round, it’s illegal to set off fireworks between the hours of 11pm and 7am, with the exception of the 5th of November, where you can light away until midnight.
Make sure any fireworks or sparklers you purchase have come from a regulated supplier – each product should be marked with the code BS 7114:1988. Being caught using fireworks illegally is at best a £90 on-the-spot fine, but repercussions can include fines of up to £5,000 and even up to six months in prison!
Evaluating the risks
Our biggest bonfire night safety tip would be to make sure you take a serious look at your surroundings, scoping out any hazards in the vicinity. These could include trees, shrubbery, fences and other buildings – essentially anything which could potentially catch and spread fire. Then, of course, you have the people to think about too.
Do what you can to minimise or remove these risks – even if it means moving to a different location for your festivities. Define a clear boundary as to where people should stand (or not stand, if you like); the official guidance is a spectator distance of 25 metres. You’re better off being safe than sorry.
That’s enough on fireworks – what about the bonfire itself?
If you’re planning on hosting an actual bonfire as part of your display, there are a few fire safety tips to understand before you do so. Fire can get out of control fast – so don’t be caught short.
Make sure your site is completely clear, and ideally not situated too close to a road – no one wants to be the cause of a traffic accident due to smoke. Keep numerous buckets of water close at hand, better yet a hose hook up with a water source nearby, so that you can respond quickly if things start getting out of hand.
And, possibly the most important bonfire night safety tip of all – make sure the fire is fully extinguished at the end of the night. A great way to ensure there are no embers left burning is to turn off all light sources nearby and check for glowing ashes or other material; don’t leave the fire unattended and do not underestimate how a ‘mostly extinguished’ fire can reinvent itself!