While fireworks are safe for those following the firework code, common sense has to be applied as attitudes have changed over the years making fireworks related accidents a thing of the past except in a small number of instances.
In 1997 the fireworks industry changed overnight as new legislation came into place restricting the use of certain items, such as bangers, mortars, and pieces with erratic flight patterns unless specially trained and licensed for professional fireworks. Across the world as these videos show safety is paramount.
Back in 1962, Taffy Davis sits in his shed with a hopper of exotic fireworks powders - you will note the roof of Taffy’s workspace; this is designed to lift with very little effort, this will reduce any accidents blast range being contained blasting up rather than out.
At the end of the video, we agree - the man is a little close to the fountain. Back in those days there was no such thing as a 1.3G Fireworks or 1.4G Fireworks, safety distances, classification, powder weights etc. Everything was at the makers discretion!
Four years and over nine thousand miles away, Australia prepares for the Queen’s birthday, they would usually have “Cracker Night” on 24th of May to celebrate Commonwealth day, but this year the retailers in New South Wales are being warned to be extra careful when selling fireworks, with imported fireworks being tested for compliance.
The next video from the 1970’s features Gillian Taylforth, best known as Kathy Beale in Eastenders in her first TV role before going on to play a factory worker in the sit-com “the rag trade” in 1977.
This video is one of the few that targets a particular type of firework, the banger. The banger is probably one of the oldest types of pyrotechnic, being made since around 492 AD where gunpowder would be packed into bamboo and lit creating the bang to scare away evil spirits.
Bangers were banned in the UK in 1997 and for a very good reason - I would say that all the fireworks injuries I was ever made aware of, heard about or saw involved bangers. Unfortunately, there are still some illegal bangers about.
We have seen at first hand the danger these illegally imported fireworks can do especially as they have no safety controls and are just as likely to explode in your hand being made from sub-standard materials with a “guess how long it lasts fuse” DON’T BUY THEM.
Fast forward to 1990’s. Who remembers “Wellephant” the fire-fighting elephant? This video discusses the dangers of playing with matches - again common sense but here’s a question - matches are still dangerous today, but when was the last time you saw a public information film telling you this?
And finally 1957 U.S.A, these children living on an American airbase all have an incentive to join “fire school” (time off from regular lessons) where they learn how to safely extinguish a fire, surely it would make more sense to include everyone in the training.
Remember these helpful hints and stay safe and injury free this bonfire night - Buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or CE - Remember that you can only use category 1,2 and 3 at home. Category 4 fireworks can only used by professional firework display operators.
1. Keep fireworks in a closed metal box
2. Follow the instructions on each firework
3. Light them at arms length using a taper or portfire
4. Stand well back
5. Never go back to a lit firework
6. Never put fireworks in your pocket
7. Keep a bucket of water nearby if you are setting off fireworks in your garden
8. Never throw fireworks
9. Keep pets indoors
10. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix and may lead to injury