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Home » News & Events » 2020 » October » Be extra cautious if you’re having Guy Fawkes celebrations at home this year – or even give them a miss

Be extra cautious if you’re having Guy Fawkes celebrations at home this year – or even give them a miss

in News

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) is urging people to think twice about having firework celebrations this year, but to take extra caution if they do.

This year, as a result of the pandemic, organised firework shows have been cancelled, so more people may be celebrating with fireworks at home instead.

If so, it is vital that they bear in mind firework safety if letting off fireworks in their gardens.

Don’t forget that fireworks can be dangerous if misused and by following simple safety steps, you will ensure that celebrations are fun and only go with the right kind of ‘bang’.

In the last ten years, since 2010, HWFRS has attended more than 250 incidents on 5 November. These included nearly 80 fires, over 100 false alarms and over 40 non-fire incidents needing help. The busiest stations for callouts were Wyre Forest, Worcester, Hereford, Bromsgrove and Redditch.

Station Commander Steve Andrews of the HWFRS Community Risk department said: “We would normally encourage people to go to an organised event but that isn’t possible this year.

“We’re suggesting people give it a miss this year but if you’re holding your own bonfire parties and get-togethers, we want to remind you of some simple firework and bonfire safety tips to help avoid injury or any damage to your property.

“We want everyone to enjoy their firework celebrations safely and without causing inconvenience to others, so please remember these top tips for an enjoyable and accident-free evening.”

Here are some tips if you're having celebrations at home:

Firework safety tips

  • plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  • only buy fireworks marked with British Standard Kitemark BS 7114, and from a reputable supplier
  • don’t drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks – they don’t mix
  • keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time
  • always follow the instructions on the box carefully - read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame
  • light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  • keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • never go back to fireworks once they are lit – they might still go off or even explode
  • never throw fireworks and don’t put them in your pocket
  • always supervise children around fireworks and never give sparklers to children under 5
  • put fireworks in a bucket of water after use – they’ll still be hot
  • respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night
  • keep your pets indoors all evening with the curtains closed

Bonfire safety tips

  • consider whether your garden is actually big enough for a safe bonfire – if in doubt, don’t!
  • never use flammable liquids to help start a bonfire
  • build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences, hedges and overhanging branches
  • keep it to a manageable size and evenly built so it collapses inwards as it burns
  • always check the bonfire’s construction is still sound before lighting it, that there are no children or animals inside, and that hazardous items such as aerosols and fireworks have not been thrown on to it
  • bonfires should be lit after the firework display unless sufficiently far away to ensure stray bonfire sparks cannot fall into among the fireworks
  • never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries – they could explode
  • don’t leave bonfires unattended – ensure an adult is in charge until they have burnt out
  • always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of emergency
  • make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving
  • damp them down with water at the end of the evening – or if you have to leave them even for a short while

Visit HWFRS and other websites for wealth of bonfire night safety guidance to help keep you, your family and your pets safe

For more information on safe bonfires and firework celebrations, visit the HWFRS, GOV.UK and OPSS (Office for Product Safety and Standards) websites for a wealth of bonfire night safety guidance to help keep you, your family and your pets safe.

Check out these websites for helpful tips:

hwfire.org.uk/firework-safety

gov.uk/guidance/consumer-safety-awareness-campaigns-materials

opss-launches-firework-safety-campaign