Planning a Back Garden Firework Display

  • January 6, 2010 5:27 pm

you’re going to be in charge of fireworks at home this year, please take a few minutes to read through the following guidelines. Your planning and your actions could help prevent an injury.

1. Store your fireworks safely in a closed box, somewhere cool and dry, out of reach of children and animals, until the time they are needed. Don’t keep the box under the stairs or in a passageway.

2. Pets hate bangs and flashes and get very frightened on fireworks night. So keep all your pets indoors and close all the curtains to make things calmer. Remember it’s not just your own fireworks that cause distress, so you may need to have your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.

3. Think ahead and be prepared Before you start, make sure you’ll be giving yourself enough room in a safe place to get to and from your box of fireworks while the display’s going on. Have a full bucket of water handy for any emergency, and for putting used sparklers into. If you have the chance to get together with some other families, try to go to the home with the biggest garden and the safest surroundings.

4. Do you really need a bonfire?

It’s much better to manage without one. But if you insist make sure that it’s well away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds. never use a flammable liquid like petrol or parafin to get one going. If lighting your bonfire is difficult, use only domestic fireligfhters to help.

Check very carefully that there’s no animal (or even a young child) hidden inside the bonfire. Don’t light it until after all your fireworks have been let off. Keep everyone at a safe distance away, and don’t allow anyone to throw anything onto it.

5. Watch what you wear

Loose clothing (like shell suits) can very easily catch alight and should never be worn near any fire. Long dangly scarves can be risky too. If anyone’s clothing does catch fire, follow the rule…

STOP don’t run DROP to the ground ROLLOVER to put out the flame

6. One at a time please

You (or another adult that you choose) must be the only person letting off fireworks. Don’t allow anyone else – especially children – to do so while your display is going on. Let the fireworks off one at a time (not lots at once) and don’t rush.

Light the tip of each firework at arm’s length, using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick.

If one doesn’y go off, DON’T GO BACK TO IT – it could still be live, and could go off unexpectedly in your face. Right at the end of your fireworks night, douse the ‘dud’ with lots of water, then completely bury it in the ground and cover it well. Alternatively, keep it soaking in a bucket of water and ask your Fire Bigade for advice as soon as possible.


7. Different fireworks mean different hazards Read the instructions on each one carefully (by torchlight, never with any sort of naked flame) and follow them properly. Rockets, for instance, should be launched from a rocket launcher, not from a bottle.

Sparklers need careful handling – light them one at a time at arm’s length; don’t give one to any child under 5; make sure that anyone holding a sparkler wears gloves; and put each spent one into a bucket of water as soon as it’s gone out.

8. No fooling Putting a firework in a pocket is stupid and dangerous. Throwing a firework is stupid and dangerous and illegal: it’s a criminal offence to do so in a street or other public place, with a maximum penalty of a £5000 fine.

9. Bonfires and booze don’t mix Drinking alcohol presents an added danger when there are fireworks and bonfires around. So keep strict control of your guests’ drinking during the display. You could consider not having any alcoholic drink available until after your fireworks have been let off.

10. Watch that child Keep children well away from fireworks, and never let a child handle or light one. Even sparklers can be dangerous if unsupervised! Make sure that children are aware of the dangers.

Following the steps in this guide ought to mean that your fireworks night goes without a hitch. But, sadly, accidents do still happen to even the most careful people. Consult the First Aid for Burns advice just in case. Let’s hope you’ll never need it!

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