Fireworks are a traditional part of enjoying celebrations such as Bonfire Night or New Year but they are the cause of many hundreds of serious accidents every year - it should be remembered that they are dangerous explosives. The safest way to enjoy them is to go to a professionally organised event.
The government's Fireworks Safety Campaign (DTI) provides downloadable guidance leaflets and materials for organisers of firework displays for the public, retailers selling fireworks, schools and the media, including the Firework Safety Code.
Professionally organised displays are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who publish two booklets - 'Giving Your Own Firework Display' and 'Working Together', aimed at organisers of events where a professional firework display company fires the display, available from HSE Books.
Remember that pets are frightened of fireworks - always keep them indoors. You can download a leaflet Fireworks and Pets in PDF format from the Blue Cross.
Retailers selling fireworks must be registered with Torbay Council Trading Standards who investigate problems with unsafe products.
Follow the Firework Code
If you buy fireworks, always make sure they comply with BS 7114 and are clearly marked for their intended use 'Indoor, Garden or Display'
- Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin
- Use them one at a time, replacing the lid immediately
- Never put fireworks in your pocket
- Read the instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp never use a naked flame
- Light fireworks at arms length using a taper or a firework lighter
- Stand well back and never return to a firework after it has been lit, it could explode in your face
- Ensure that all children with fireworks are well supervised
- Never throw fireworks
- Keep all pets and animals indoors
- Take care of sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished
- Despite annual safety warnings, Bonfire Night week still ends in disaster for far too many families. Fireworks can provide fun and entertainment, but only if everyone follows the right safety procedures and remembers that fireworks can be very dangerous if misused.
Remember to be careful with bonfires too. It's much better to manage without one. But if you insist make sure it's well away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds.
Never use a flammable liquid like petrol or paraffin to get one going. If lighting your bonfire is difficult, use only domestic firelighters to help. Check very carefully that there's no animal (or even a young child) hidden inside the bonfire.
Don't light it until after all your fireworks have been let off. Keep everyone a safe distance away, and don't allow anyone to throw anything onto it.
Loose clothing (like shell-suits) can very easily catch alight and should never be worn near any fire. Long scarves can be risky too.
Remember Fireworks are explosives - get wise or get hurt!
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