It’s been a challenging year as we all deal with the impact of COVID-19. As we approach Bonfire Night, it’s clear many organised firework displays that families usually attend will not be happening. We urge people to be cautious if they are thinking about using fireworks at home. Take time to plan and make sure you are confident and comfortable with handling fireworks and that you have the appropriate space in your garden to hold a display. You should also follow the firework code. Firework injuries are more common at private or family displays.

Roy Wilsher, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council

Fireworks

Fireworks Burn Prevention

It is predicted that this year 500 children and their families will join the growing number of people who will remember bonfire night for the wrong reasons. They will have been injured as a result of an accident with fireworks.

  • The vast majority of injuries are to the eyes, head or hands – so children will have visible scars for life;
  • Most injuries happen at private or family displays;
  • Rocket, air bomb and sparkler incidents are the most common;
  • Over 550 children under 16 are taken to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night alone;
  • Many more boys than girls are injured by fireworks – especially boys aged 12 to 15 years.

Sparklers are often seen as a relatively harmless way of allowing very young children to participate in the thrill of fireworks night – THIS IS NOT TRUE – a sparkler can reach temperatures of 20 times the boiling point of water.

Never give sparklers to children under the age of five. Make sure that older children wear gloves, hold the sparkler at arm’s length and ALWAYS have a bucket of water nearby to put the used sparklers in – hot end down.

Before they explode read the code! Read the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s advice for staying safe around fireworks.

The best way to enjoy fireworks is at an organised display. The fireworks will be bigger, you’re not responsible for safety and you’ll be part of the crowd. However, if like in 2020 firework displays aren’t taking place and you do decide to host your own firework display, here’s how you and your guests can stay safe.

Advice

Do

  • Read all the instructions: The box of fireworks will tell you important things like how far people need to stand back once the firework is lit. Make sure to read all the safety warnings.
  • Buy from licensed sellers: Most shops, like supermarkets, can only sell fireworks on certain dates during the year. If you’re buying them at a different time you need to visit a specially licensed shop. It’s illegal for under-18s to buy or carry fireworks.
  • Keep pets indoors: Cats and dogs should stay inside.
  • Check your timings: Did you know that you can’t let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am? The only exceptions are Bonfire night, when the cut off is midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when it’s 1am. Let your neighbours know, so they can prepare.
  • Teach children to Stop, Drop and Roll. Ahead of Fireworks night and Hallowe’en, make sure children know what to do if their clothes catch fire. The instinct is to run. So encourage them to practice stopping, dropping to the ground, covering their face with their hands, and rolling over a few times to put out the flames.

Don't

  • Don’t let children help: Kids should enjoy the display from a distance and should not be allowed to handle fireworks, tapers and matches. Preferably they should watch from inside the house and away from any fireworks that could go astray.
  • Don’t rush things. Take time to plan and make sure you are confident and comfortable with handling fireworks and that you have the appropriate space in your garden to hold a display.
  • Don’t give sparklers to children under the age of 5.
  • Don’t forget that bonfires are dangerous too. If you are having one, keep your bonfire away from buildings, sheds, fences and trees and have water or a hosepipe ready. Tell your neighbours so that they are informed, and never throw anything dangerous onto the fire.

 

Rosie-May

Firework accident

Following a firework accident that is any parent’s worst nightmare, mother Eleanor tells the story of her amazing daughter Rosie-May and the day her family would prefer to forget. Read their story here.