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Firework Safety

Make sure you're staying safe while you enjoy the show

The Gunpowder Plot

Bonfire Night is the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, in which Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. This explains why we commemorate the event by playing with sparklers and setting off fireworks.

While we all look forward to seeing firework displays, we must remember that fireworks are extremely dangerous if not used correctly. Seeing as children will be within close vicinity of the fireworks and will be trying to get as close as possible for a better view, it’s essential to be safe at all times.

Where to see fireworks

The general advice given to anyone who wants to see fireworks is to attend an organised event rather than a private one. Organised bonfires and fireworks displays will have the required health and safety precautions in place, as well as qualified first-aiders on hand to provide basic life support if necessary.

If you are either going to be hosting or attending a private event, then you should do so with extreme caution. Health and safety with fireworks are of paramount importance, so be sure to carefully read and follow the official instructions provided by health and safety experts.

Socially-distanced firework displays

Of course, there is a chance that fireworks displays may not go ahead given the rules around social distancing. If you are going to a public place then you need to be even more aware of the people around you.

There is a concern that with fewer public events, more people may be doing smaller displays in their garden. This means it could be someone’s first time handling fireworks – if you are one of those, then pay attention to the rest of the blog.

Following The Fireworks Code

The Fireworks Code has been put into place to ensure everyone’s safety when using fireworks. It’s vital that every single step is followed because if even one of them is overlooked, everyone at the fireworks display could be in life-threatening danger. You can read more about the fireworks code at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Finishing time

Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 12 pm. Usually, the law states that fireworks must not be set off after 11 pm, but on Bonfire Night that time is extended by one hour to 12 pm.

CE Marking

Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark and keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time. CE marking confirms that the fireworks have been assessed by a ‘Notified Body’ and have passed the necessary health and safety checks.

If you don’t buy fireworks from a trusted source then you are putting you and everyone around you in danger. Every year there are horror stories as a result of dodgy and unsafe fireworks. Don’t let that happen to you.

Read instructions carefully

Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary. While this may seem self-explanatory, it’s easy to misread something in the dark. Ideally, you should aim to read and understand fireworks well in advance of using them. You don’t want to be questioning last second whether you are lighting the correct end as you have a lit match or taper in your hand!

Stand back

Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back. In case something with the firework goes wrong, you will be as far as possible from the explosive. If you don’t have a taper, try to use long matches to at least give you some distance when lighting the firework.

Keep other flames away

Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks. Flames from external sources could react violently to the fireworks, so this is a risk which should be completely avoided.

If it doesn’t go off, leave it alone

Never return to a firework once it has been lit. While it might not look like it’s been lit properly or it’s just fallen over, it could still explode at any moment. It may be slightly disappointing, but the safest thing to do is just leave it be. If it gets to the morning and it still hasn’t moved, then it is probably safe to check it!

Don’t throw or pocket fireworks

Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them. Fireworks could explode in your pocket and if you throw them they could go off and harm people who are standing nearby. Think that would never happen? Well, it has.

Take careful aim

Be aware of your neighbours and the size of your garden when you are purchasing fireworks to be sure you can aim them in a safe direction. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators. This is because they could misfire and go off at a slight angle, so you should make sure even if there is a misfire it still won’t be anywhere near spectators.

Don’t use petrol or paraffin

Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire. Even if you’re struggling to get the bonfire started, you should never resort to using petrol or paraffin because it could very quickly get out of control. Instead, there are a few tips you can follow to get your bonfire safely roaring.

Make a safe exit

Make sure that your bonfire is out, fireworks have finished and surroundings are made safe before leaving. If you are going to run your own private display, ensure you have safely cleaned up any equipment and nothing potentially dangerous has been left out where others (including animals that come out at night) might stumble across it.

Enjoy the show - safely

What we all want is to safely enjoy a stunning fireworks display with our friends and family. It may seem like an imposing list of rules to follow, but they’re absolutely necessary due to the potential dangers posed by fireworks and bonfires. Also, they’re mostly common sense so shouldn’t be too hard!

It’s not worth taking any risks as you could be given an on-the-spot fine of £90. For more serious offences, you could be fined £5,000 and face up to 6 months imprisonment for breaching these rules. If it really ends badly, then it won’t just be a financial cost you have to pay.

Here at Vital Workplace Training, we provide over fifty training courses to teach essential skills to individuals and groups. If you’re planning on hosting a fireworks show and want to make sure you’re prepared, then our fire safety, health and safety and emergency training courses will teach you everything you need to know.

We also specialise in first aid training for both children and adults to make sure all of your attendees can get the medical assistance they require. To find out more about our courses and how they might help you, contact us today to speak to a member of our team.

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