Category Archives: the firework code

National Burns Week, 2nd-8th November 2009 – The Acriflex Guide to Bonfire Night Safety

National Burns Week launches this November as people across the nation begin to light up bonfires, sparklers and fireworks to celebrate Bonfire Night on November 5th.

Bonfire night celebrates the foiling of Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder plot to blow up the House on Parliament in 1605. The tradition of lighting a bonfire and watching fireworks brings people together and is great fun but it is important to remember that fireworks are essentially explosives that burn at very high temperatures and can be a danger to everyone, not least children.

So if you’re having a bonfire or fireworks at home in the garden this year, read on to find out what steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.

Bonfire Safety

Bonfires need a lot of organisation and can be dangerous if not planned well. If you do decide to have a bonfire follow these guide lines to make sure it runs smoothly and singe free.

– Don’t over stack your bonfire or make it too large to control
– Check immediately before lighting that there’s no animal or even a young child hidden inside or nearby
– Never use flammable liquids like paraffin or petrol to get it going as this can result in uncontrolled spread of fire or explosion
– Never put fireworks on a bonfire and don’t burn dangerous rubbish (e.g. aerosols, paint tins or foam-filled furniture)
– Make sure spectators are kept well back to prevent flying embers catching alight on clothing
– When it’s all over the bonfire needs to be put out completely – don’t leave it smouldering as it could catch light again.

Remember the Firework Code

If you plan to use fireworks make sure your Bonfire Night celebration is burn free by following the Firework Safety Code. The code also applies to Sparklers which are often not seen as a potential hazard.

– Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
– Always follow the instructions on each individual firework
– Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper
– Once lit, stand well back
– Never go back to a lit firework
– Never put a firework in your pocket
– Never throw fireworks
– Store fireworks in a closed box in a cool, dry place

Keep sparklers in safe hands

Sparklers can get up to six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil. Follow these tips to make sparklers stay in safe hands.

– Light sparklers one at a time and always wear gloves
– Never give sparklers to a child under the age of five – they will not understand how to use them safely.
– Supervise children using sparklers and ensure they are wearing gloves
– Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand
– Plunge finished sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out as they can stay hot for a long time.
– Don’t take sparklers to public displays. It will be too crowded to use them safely
– Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes that could potentially catch light
– Store sparklers in a closed box in a cool, dry place

Most bonfire night events run safely with no incidents but one of the most common injuries around this time of year is accidental burns.

What should I do to treat burns?

First step is to remove any further risk of burning. Then assess the burn to make sure you seek the appropriate treatment. Burns can be classified as follows:

Minor Burns

Common types of injuries include someone has burnt themselves on a sparkler or a bonfire ember. The burn is smaller than a postage stamp, very red and painful but the skin remains unbroken.

Major Burns

A major burn injury is when skin is damaged by a large amount of heat or prolonged amount of heat. It could include someone whose clothing has caught on fire and the skin is very damaged ranging from red-black in colour, the skin may also be cracked or blistered and weeping. There can be nerve damage so the victim may not be able to feel the burnt area.

Advice for Minor Burns

• Cool the burn with cold water for at least 10 minutes or use a burns specific treatment such as Acriflex Cooling Burns Gel
• Avoid touching the burn directly or bursting any blisters to limit infection and scarring
• If required cover the burn with a clean, non-fluffy material such as cling film to limit infection
• If the burn is larger than a postage stamp, it requires medical attention – seek advice/treatment from a pharmacist or doctor.

Advice for Major Burns

• If possible, try to cool the burn immediately under running water for at least 10 minutes
• Dial 999 for an ambulance
• Make the casualty as comfortable as possible, lie them down
• Whilst wearing disposable gloves, if available, remove jewellery, watch or clothing from the affected area – unless it is sticking to the skin
• Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material to protect from infection. Cloth, a clean plastic bag or cling film are ideal.

On ALL burns DO NOT

• Use lotions, ointments and creams other than those specifically made for burns treatments
• Put ice or very cold objects on the burn as damaged skin is very sensitive and it can make the pain worse
• Use adhesive or fluffy dressings
• Break or touch blisters

Be Prepared

The best way to avoid accidents is to be prepared! Spending time planning your bonfire and fireworks can prevent a fun evening from disaster. Brush up on your first aid skills and make sure you have a fully stocked First Aid Kit close by that includes Acriflex Cooling Burns Gel which will quickly ease the inflammation, protect against infection and support your skin’s healing process.

Acriflex Cooling Burns Gel is a breakthrough treatment based on unique OSMO4 technology that’s proven to provide immediate relief to burns and scalds, hydrate the skin to minimise potential scarring and protect against possible infection

Acriflex Cooling Burns Gel does not contain preservatives, alcohol or perfume. It is a non-sticky gel which is easily absorbed into the skin. Well tolerated and with a good safety profile, Acriflex Cooling Burns Gel is suitable for both adults and children (over 2 years) and can be applied directly onto unbroken skin.

Finally, remember to keep your pets indoors and away from bonfire night celebrations. Some pets find the loud bangs caused by fireworks very distressing. Make your pet as comfortable as possible by keeping curtains closed in the evenings and giving them a warm safe place to relax away from the noise.

National Burns Week is supported by Acriflex Cooling Burns Gel and aims to raise awareness of household burns and educate people on the correct way to treat burns.

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UK Fireworks: A Buyers Guide/low noise fireworks

Quiet Fireworks are a common request in a fireworks shop. Many people do not want to frighten animals or young audience members and so prefer low noise fireworks to louder fireworks.

How to choose quiet fireworks:

There are a few things to look out for which will help you buy quiet fireworks for your display. Below are listed Epic Fireworks Top Tips for buying quiet fireworks.

  • Watch the video
  • Check the category
  • Check the Bore Size (size of the tube)
  • Check the classification
  • Ask Ask Ask

This is all a lot simpler than it may first appear. The first one, watch the video, is a no-brainer. If you have seen a video before you buy a firework you have a much better idea of the effect you are likely to see/hear. This is true when you are buying any firework. Always insist on watching the video.

Consumer Fireworks in the UK are split into distinct categories, Cat 2 and Cat 3.

Cat 2 Fireworks (also called garden fireworks) are generally a lot smaller and do not bang. They also have a safety distance of 5 metres so they are great for kids and back gardens – hence the name “garden fireworks”.

Cat 3 fireworks (the good stuff) are larger and can contain bangs (although not necessarily) and much bigger effects. These have a safety distance of 25 metres.

If you like loud bangs, stick to cat 3.

The bore size (the internal diameter of the firework tube) makes a difference. In very general terms the bigger the tube, the bigger the bang. This is not a hard and fast rule but it works for most.

Classification is perhaps the most important thing to look out for here. We have already talked about categories, classification is quite different. Fireworks are split into 2 types, 1.4G and 1.3G. 1.3G Fireworks contain flash powder and can have very loud bangs, up to 120db. 1.4G fireworks contain less than 5% flash powder (the stuff that makes the bang) and so do not bang as much as pop.

If you live in the UK the vast majority of fireworks shops will now only sell 1.4G Fireworks (the quiet ones). In fact without going to a specialist all year round firework retailer it will be very hard for you to find a 1.3G firework. This means it should be easier to know you are buying quiet pyrotechnics. The key thing is to ask the sales assistant. They should know what they are selling and should be able to tell you straight away if they are 1.3 or 1.4G and if they are Cat 3 or Cat 4. If the shop you are in cannot tell you the difference, its time to find another shop.

I hope this has helped you in your quest for low noise barrages and quiet rockets. Please leave any questions in the comments box and happy hunting!

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Kids buying fireworks in Edinburgh

2 shopkeepers from Edinburgh guilty of supplying fireworks to under agers

Mohammed Saeed Qadir, 50, and Mohammed Waheed Qadir, 39, of Edinburgh Bargain Stores in St Patrick Square, failed a test purchasing exercise last November.

The shop’s owners pled guilty to the charge of selling to people under the age of 18.

The pair were fined £500 each at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week.

Last year underage volunteers took part in 20 test purchases in the city, during which four sales were made to the teenagers.

The failure rate of 20% compares to figures of 8.8% in 2006 and 10% in 2007.

In previous years shop keepers caught selling fireworks to those under age received a warning.

However, council officials are now able to send their reports to the procurator fiscal after the lord advocate decided that the children’s evidence could now be used in court.

Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh City Council’s environment leader, said: “I am very concerned that a fifth of retailers we tested sold fireworks to young people regardless of age.

“This behaviour is totally unacceptable. Fireworks can cause serious injury and can kill so we must ensure that they are not being sold illegally to children.

“I hope these fines will serve as a stark warning that retailers must abide by the legislation.”

The three remaining cases will be heard by the courts over the next three months.

Every year officers from the city’s environmental health and trading standards department carry out a test purchase programme between 15 October and 10 November with volunteers who are aged 15 or 16.

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