Show some respect this Bonfire Night
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is joining forces with other blue light agencies to help keep people safe this bonfire and fireworks season.
With many organised events cancelled, emergency services are preparing for a busier time than usual as people celebrate at home.
Ian Hopkins, Prevention Delivery Manager at DWFRS, said:
We are asking everyone to show respect this Bonfire Night, to their neighbours, to the emergency services, and to the real dangers that fireworks and bonfires can pose. Everything is very different this year, we know families will want to have some fun, so we all need to think twice about what we’re doing, take extra care and follow all the advice about how to stay safe.
Whilst most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery. Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code:
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm.
- Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch if necessary.
- Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
- Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
- Make sure that the fire is out, and surroundings are made safe, before leaving.
Whilst the country continues to live within a global pandemic, it is essential that people avoid taking risks, potentially putting additional pressures on the emergency services.
A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) spokesperson said:
We would encourage everyone to stay safe this bonfire and fireworks season, and to prevent injuries by following the Firework Code. If someone does suffer a burn, get it treated as soon as possible to limit the damage to their skin.
- Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes immediately after the injury is sustained, then cover the burn with clingfilm or a clean plastic bag.
- Give the person paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce their pain.
- Take them to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department for large burns, or burns that cause white charred or blistered skin.
- Call NHS 111 for advice if you don’t know what to do, or call 999 for an ambulance if they are seriously injured or their life may be at risk.
For more information and advice, visit the NHS website
At this time of year, we all need to respect our neighbours. Fireworks can frighten people and animals, and the elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise.
Tell your neighbours if you’re planning to let off fireworks, and avoid purchasing really noisy ones. You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for Bonfire Night itself, when the cut off is midnight.
Superintendent Gavin Williams from Wiltshire Police said:
We know that fireworks can be great fun, but please remember that you must be over 18 to purchase fireworks and that it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks - including sparklers - in the street or other public places.
You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally, and there’s also an on-the-spot fine of £90. It is also important that people remember to following the current Covid rules around not gathering in large groups.
I know people will be keen to mark Bonfire Night this year, but you will probably need to adapt your plans to ensure you are keeping yourself and others safe as we continue to see a rise in Covid cases across the country.
Fireworks can also cause a great deal of distress to animals. In a recent survey, 62% of dog owners reported their pets showing signs of distress during fireworks season, with 54% of cat owners experiencing the same. The RSPCA’s ‘Bang Out Of Order’ campaign encourages the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.
Please show some respect this Bonfire Night. For further information about staying safe, please visit the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue website.
In addition to Bonfire Night, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is also warning people to not let Halloween become scary for all the wrong reasons.
Whilst this year’s Halloween celebrations will look a little different due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the fire risks remain the same.
Every year on 31 October, children and adults are injured in accidents where candles or fireworks have set fire to costumes and hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks.
Children’s fancy dress costumes are often classified as toys and are therefore not required to be fire proofed or fire retardant. This makes children especially vulnerable in circumstances where they are playing without adult supervision. RoSPA have been working with the British Retail Consortium and its members to develop a testing standard for the flammability of children’s dress-up costumes which goes beyond the legal level.
Prevention Delivery manager Ian Hopkins said: “Toy dress-up clothing can burn rapidly when it comes into contact with an open flame, such as a candle or open fire. This can cause serious injury, burns, and potentially death.
“We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we want to help them celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire.”
The following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:
- Check that all Halloween and fancy-dress costumes you buy carry a CE mark on the label As with all clothing, Halloween and fancy-dress outfits should always be kept away from fire, lit candles and all other naked flames
- Always supervise children and pets if using lit candles
- Do not allow children to carry, play, reach over, light or be near lit candles
- Never leave a burning candle unattended
- Remember always to extinguish a candle completely after use
- Ensure children can be seen in the dark; ideally they should wear something reflective such as a reflective strip and carry a torch.
- Teach your child to STOP, DROP and ROLL in the event that their clothing does catch fire.
- In an emergency, cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
- If you must use candles, make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder and in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over. Keep them away from curtains, cushions, and draughts.
- If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they’re switched off at the socket at night.
Remember to look out in your local area to see if there is a DWFRS Halloween Trail. Aimed at younger children, the trail encourages children to hunt for the safety messages with their parents or carers. For more information, visit the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue website: