Money Matters Team

Staying safe on bonfire night

By Money Matters Team 28/10/2013

Bonfire Night brings together millions of people across the UK in this time-honoured annual tradition, but make sure you remember it for the right reasons.

'Remember, remember the 5th of November?'

Featuring fantastic firework and bonfires displays, the event symbolises the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when Guy Fawkes plotted and failed to blow up the English Parliament and King James along with it.

Every year, around 1000* people in the UK visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night.

Although the event is a great chance for children and families to enjoy themselves, the number one priority is to stay safe. Here’s some tips from the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) to keep in mind.

Firework safety tips

  • Only buy fireworks marked to show that they comply with British safety standards. This should be marked on the box
  • Never return to a lit firework that has not gone off as expected; it could still explode
  • Light firworks at arm's length, using a taper, and stand well back
  • Always supervise children
  • Don't let fireworks off after 11pm so as to not disturb neightbours
  • Follow the instructions on each firework carefully
  • Store fireworks in a closed box

If you want to add sparklers too, light them one at a time, wear gloves and dispose of them in a bucket of water after they've burned out.

Bonfire safety tips

Historically, fire has been one of man's most useful tools – but it can also be extremely dangerous. Here are some safety tips for those in charge of the bonfire.

  • Tape off an exclusion zone around the bonfire so people cannot get too close
  • Get different adults to supervise different activities - one for the bonfire, one for fireworks and one for sparklers
  • Obviously pick your location carefully. Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees. If anything does go wrong and you need to make a claim under any contents or buildings policy, you will usually need to show that you took all the steps you could to prevent an accident.
  • Make sure any pets are kept indoors or taken to another home if there is going to be a large firewrok display where you live.

Involve the whole family

If you are planning a firework display or bonfire at home get the children to help with the planning. They could help pick out fireworks, choose the location and work out the timings. If they feel involved they may be more likely to hear and understand the safety warnings.

Staying warm

Last but not least, make sure you stay warm. November might seem a cold month for grilling sausages - but they could help warm you up on frosty night. For larger groups, particularly community events, have someone supervise a BBQ. Hot chocolate with marshmallows might also do the trick.
*Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)

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