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Fire Safety for Bonfire Night

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Until 1959 it was illegal not to celebrate bonfire night in the UK. Now, to keep everybody safe, there are different rules to follow.

Fireworks and the law

Before you start the celebrations, get to know the law. Most of guidelines are common sense , but there are a couple of things you might not know. The law  • You must be over 18 to use fireworks • You cannot sell fireworks to anyone under 18 years old • Fireworks cannot be set off after midnight • You must not set off or throw fireworks or sparklers in the street or public places • You can only buy fireworks and sparklers from registered sellers for private use on: – 15 October to 10 November – 26 to 31 December – 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year – At other times you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops Penalties If you use or buy fireworks illegally you can: • Be fined £5,000 • Be fined £80 on the spot • Be imprisoned for 3 months

Firework fire safety

Surprisingly, fireworks can travel at up to 150mph, the cruising speed of some biplanes. It goes without saying that you should be careful. Here are a few quick tips: Purchase and storage • Only buy fireworks with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114 • Keep fireworks in a closed box Setting them off • Never drink alcohol when working with fireworks • Follow usage instructions carefully • Light them at an arm’s length away using a taper • Stand well back

Sparklers

SparklerIf you burn three sparklers together, they combined heat will match that of a blow torch! With that shocking fact in mind, here are some tips to follow: • Never give them to children under 5 • Protect your hands by wearing gloves • Make sure each person only has one sparkler at a time • Instruct kids to hold them an arm’s length away • Put sparklers in a cold bucket of water when they’ve burnt out

The bonfire

• Build the bonfire well away from fences, sheds buildings, hedges, trees and plants • Never use flammable liquids to start your bonfire • Never burn dangerous items (batteries, plastic, tins aerosol cans, etc) • Make sure your bonfire is always attended • When your bonfire burns out, dampen it down with water • Always keep a bucket of water and hose pipe nearby, in case of an emergency

BBQ fire safety

If you’re also going to get a BBQ going (weather permitting!) take a look at previous BBQ safety tips we’ve given.

Pets

Of course, it’s a good idea to keep your pets safely indoors. Take them on a walk earlier in the evening, so they won’t need to go outside while you celebrate. photo credit: Ben K Adams via photopin cc
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