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Fire Minster asks public to be careful with bonfires and fireworks

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Bonfire night parties can be great fun, but carelessness with a bonfire and fireworks can result in injuries and serious damage to property. If you are having your own fireworks and bonfire party I ask everyone to follow advice about bonfire safety and to carefully follow the instructions on fireworks.

Last year, 5 November accounted for over ten percent of outdoor fires that month that were recorded as significant incidents resulting in either property damage, casualties, or rescues by the Fire and Rescue Service (*primary fires).

Chief Fire Officers around the country are asking the public to be careful on bonfire night. The President of the Chief Fire Officers Association John Bonney said:

We want people to enjoy themselves and have an enjoyable bonfire party. The way to do this is to keep safe and recognise that fireworks can be dangerous if they are mishandled or misused. Following simple advice can mean you have a bonfire night to remember for all the right reasons.

Tips for bonfire safety

Never build your bonfire too close to overhead cables or nearby property. Bonfires should be 18 metres from buildings, trees, fences, overhead cables and car parking areas.Bonfires should be no more than 3 metres in height. There should be a suitable barrier around the bonfire to keep spectators 5 metres away.Always check your bonfire before it is lit, children have been known to build dens inside them.Do not use petrol, paraffin, diesel, white spirit or methylated spirit to light the bonfire. Do not burn aerosols, batteries, bottles, foam-filled furniture, tins of paint or tyres.Keep some buckets of water nearby in case of emergency and to damp down after the event.Always extinguish your bonfire once your party has finished.Do not build bonfires on council land or others land without permission from the council or landowner.


If you must have your own fireworks party, leave the lighting of the fireworks to a responsible adult. Only ever buy fireworks from a reputable retailer. Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114. Keep fireworks in a closed metal box, take them out one at a time and put the lid back on. Follow the instructions on each firework using a torch to read them.Light them at arm's length using a taper. Stand well back. Never go back to a lit firework.Never put fireworks in your pocket nor throw them. Keep a bucket of water nearby if you are setting off fireworks in your garden. Keep pets indoors.Alcohol and fireworks do not mix and may lead to injury. Don't set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11.00pm

After the display

1.Use tongs or gloves to collect spent fireworks, they might still be hot enough to burn

In an emergency

2.Cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes
3.Don't touch the burn or pull away any material stuck to it
4.Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material to prevent infection cling film is ideal
5.If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material, such as a curtain
6.Seek medical advice

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