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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Stay safe this bonfire night

16/10/17

Bonfire
Bonfire

Firefighters are urging people to celebrate safely during the bonfire and firework period this year.

Approximately 1,000 people are injured by fireworks every year in the UK and one of the best ways to avoid this is to attend an organised event.

Staff from the Service’s prevent teams are visiting schools around Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, warning children about the dangers of playing with fireworks and the consequences of anti-social behaviour.

Although the number of firework related injuries in Staffordshire is low, there is often a rise in anti-social behaviour involving fireworks. The Service also sees an increase in incidents involving bonfires getting out of control and causing injuries.

Fireworks

Director of Response Tim Hyde said: “Bonfire Night is a wonderful longstanding celebration which we want people enjoy safely with their family and friends.

“I would urge people to attend organised events which are carefully regulated to ensure health and safety standards are met. The majority of injuries caused by fireworks happen at family or private parties.

“The Service has once again been out and about in schools across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, educating young people about the potential dangers involved with playing with fireworks. However, it is important that parents reinforce our vital message as it could have life-saving consequences.

“The penalties for firework misuse can be severe. Anyone under the age of 18 who is found in possession of a firework in a public place and anyone, of any age, who is caught setting off a firework between 11pm-7am, apart from on Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve or Diwali, can face an on-the-spot penalty of £80 or even a £5,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to six months. People caught throwing or setting off fireworks on any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place may face the same outcome. It may seem like a bit of fun to some people but the consequences are no laughing matter.

“It is equally important to keep children safe when using sparklers, it is absolutely vital to ensure they are closely supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Sparklers burn at a temperature which is more than 15 times the boiling point of water and three sparklers burning together can generate the same heat as a blowtorch.”

For more information about safe purchasing, storage, handling and disposal of fireworks, view the Firework Code here.

If you do chose to have a private celebration, remember the following bonfire safety tips:

  • If you are having a bonfire, discuss it with your neighbours beforehand
  • Don’t build a bonfire too far in advance as it could encourage anti-social behaviour
  • Build the bonfire away from sheds, trees and wooden fences
  • Check there are no cables – including telephone wires – above the bonfire
  • Ensure there is a suitable barrier around the bonfire to keep spectators at least five metres away
  • Always check that no children or animals are hiding in the bonfire before lighting it
  • Don’t burn aerosols, batteries, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint as it may produce toxic fumes and some canisters may explode, causing injury
  • Don’t use petrol, paraffin, diesel, white spirit or methylated spirit to light the bonfire
  • Don’t drink alcohol while supervising a bonfire
  • Keep some buckets of cold water close by in case of an emergency as well as to damp down after the event

People using sparklers are being urged to remember the following safety tips:

  • Light one sparkler at a time
  • Supervise children with sparklers and never give them to anyone under five-years-old
  • Ensure that everyone handling sparklers is wearing gloves
  • Hold lit sparklers at arm’s length
  • Don’t wave sparklers about when close to other people
  • Never hold a baby in your arms when holding a sparkler
  • When you have finished with the sparkler put it in a bucket of cold water


People are encouraged to follow the Firework Code which can be found here

Sparklers burn at 1,500 degrees, fireworks travel at 150mph and can peak at 200 metres in the air.

In an emergency dial 999. For all other non-emergency enquiries contact: 0300 330 1000 or visit www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills.