01 Nov Whizz-bangs and sparklers – what you need to know about fireworks
It’s that time of year again when the shops are filled with fireworks ready for us all to enjoy the ooohh’s and ahhhrr’s of the autumn & winter festivals; Halloween, Bonfire night, Diwali, Christmas, New Year, etc.
But as enjoyable and thrilling that the associated events can be, fireworks can also bring pain and injury. In England in 2018, 4,436 individuals attended A&E because of an injury caused by a firework – more than double the 2,141 in 2009/10 according to figures from NHS Digital. The highest number of injuries occur at family or private parties, followed by incidents in the street or other public places.
And it’s usually because simple common sense rules about handling fireworks are forgotten. Here are some of the main causes of injury:
- Not following instructions – if you are going to let off fireworks in the garden follow the instructions very carefully.
- Lighting too many fireworks at once – this doesn’t give you time to get out of the way.
- Sparklers should only be lit one at a time and, like other fireworks, always by an adult. A bunch of sparklers if lit together can result in a flame travelling up the sparklers and burning your hand. If children are holding sparklers, stick the bare end into a carrot as this makes them easier to hold.
- Going back to a firework once it’s been lit – never go back to an already lit firework. It could go off as you approach and it’s just not worth the risk.
- Lack of supervision – in the garden there should be one adult in charge of lighting fireworks. Do not take your own fireworks to organised events as letting fireworks off in a crowd is extremely dangerous. That includes sparklers.
- Getting too close to fireworks – there are guidelines about the safe distances spectators should stand away from fireworks. Be aware of this – and remember – nobody should ever put them in their pockets.
- Never pour petrol, paraffin or meths on to the bonfire.
- Only purchase fireworks that are sold by a registered seller and that comply with British Standard BS 7114.
- If you are using sparklers, have a bucket of water nearby. When sparklers have gone out they should be put hot end down in the water.
- Never throw discarded fireworks on bonfires. Some spent fireworks still have gunpowder left in them and some fireworks which have not gone off will still contain all their explosives. Throwing them on bonfires can result in accidents.
- Make sure you wear the right clothing – you should always wear gloves (especially when holding sparklers). Do not wear nylon clothing, which melts against the skin, and don’t wear open-neck shirts, T-shirts or shorts where bare skin is exposed to the danger of fireworks. Remember to tuck scarves in and tie long hair back so they don’t catch alight.
- Don’t fool with fireworks. It’s not worth the risk. They are explosives and can be dangerous if not handled properly.
- Keep animals indoors and close curtains. Loud bangs can frighten animals.
If you are thinking about enjoying this season’s colourful skies, then we would recommend attending an organised public firework display in your local area.
Did you know…?
A simple sparkler reaches a temperature of up to 2,000°C. That’s 20 times the boiling point of water! It is particularly important never to give sparklers to children under 5 and to supervise the over 5s.
A rocket firework can reach up to 150 miles per hour and go as high as 200 metres in the air!
It is illegal to set fireworks off between 11pm and 7am except in the following cases:
- November 5th – until midnight
- New Year’s Eve – 1am on the following day
- Chinese New Year – 1am on the following day
- Diwali – 1am on the following day
Things to do for a safe Bonfire night
If you are planning on holding a fireworks party, then here are a few tips on what you need to do in advance:
- Ensure/arrange for all fire for fire extinguishers, fire blankets, buckets of water, buckets of sand to be available on the night. If your fire extinguishers need servicing (or you are unsure) then please do get in touch.
- Prepare all signs, including emergency signs.
- Check whether you are adequately insured to cover any firework-related injuries to those present at the display
- Choose a large, clear and well-mown area free from obstructions, well away from any buildings, trees and hazards like overhead cables, with as many safe entrances and exits as possible.
- Make sure that all entrances are well lit, clearly sign-posted and kept free from obstructions. Clear away any undergrowth or very long grass.
If you require any further advice on what you need to do to ensure a fun bonfire night for all, please do get in touch.
Do you need any fire safety equipment?
We can supply and fit all fire safety equipment to ensure you have the right equipment for the types of fire.