As fireworks go on sale to the public today Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) is asking residents to ensure they buy suitable products meant for garden use.
With all organised displays cancelled for 2020 LFRS fear that many people will try and hold a DIY display in their garden however the Service is asking people to please consider a few things before they do so.
There are lots of different types of fireworks and you should check that the different sizes are suitable for the size of your garden. Category 2 and 3 are only for sale for the public for outdoor use. They can be purchased from reputable retailers (who will have a licence for trade) but must carry the CE mark which is the safety standard that all fireworks should meet. Fireworks cannot be sold to under 18s and there are strict laws and fines in place both for the retailer and those in possession of fireworks.
It is also important to ensure they are stored safely between now and Bonfire Night on the 5 November which means out of reach of children and young people, secure, where they cannot get damp and also away from other sources of ignition and combustibles.
We understand that people will be looking for alternative ways to celebrate this year and will likely host bonfire celebrations at their homes however we are urging people to please 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. We are currently amidst a global pandemic and we are asking people not to take risks, putting additional pressures on our emergency services. Injuries can be prevented by following the Firework code.
Please stay safe and follow the Firework Code:-
- Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm (or midnight on Bonfire Night)
- 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
- Place on a stable surface, 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
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking in a bucket of water for several hours, bag it and bin in your usual black bin once completely cool
- 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
- Do not burn household rubbish or white goods on a bonfire. Keep your bonfire within a cordon area away from fireworks, people, property and trees and never light using flammable liquid. Check for animals hiding before lighting
- Keep pets indoors and ensure children are safe and a good distance away from the fireworks
- Pour water on bonfire embers to ensure it is fully extinguished before leaving or going to bed
- If using sparklers ensure they are held in a gloved hand at arm’s length and there is a bucket of water to put them in once the sparkler is out
It is also important to ensure that if you are having a bonfire display at home that you are following local and national lockdown measures and refrain from mixing with other households.
Another reason to consider not having a home display is that fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. Tell your neighbours if you’re a planning on letting off fireworks and avoid purchasing really noisy ones. We’ve also celebrated a number of centenary and anniversary dates recently such as VE Day and 100 years since the end of the first world war in 2019. With such huge respect shown on these anniversary dates for our veterans and serving military personnel please consider how scary the setting of fireworks could be for someone from a military background or for someone who suffers the affects of PTSD. Please be considerate.
Fireworks can also cause a great deal of distress to pets and 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. We are supporting RSPCA’s ‘Bang Out Of Order’ campaign, encouraging the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are offering schools to sign up to their FREE ‘Bright Sparx’ educational package between which will be held virtually between 15 October and 4 November. To sign up and choose a date please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
LFRS will be sharing alternative ways to celebrate this year on their social channels in the lead up to Bonfire Night and Halloween and also have some exciting plans in place at their Training Centre which will be released in due course!
Ultimately fireworks, whilst pretty to look at, are very dangerous and can cause serious harm and distress. Amid this pandemic and our need to look after one another we’re asking Lancashire to show some respect this Bonfire Night. Let’s Do It For Lancashire.
Fire Safety this Autumn
Now is also a good opportunity to remind people on how to stay safe in the home this autumn and beyond. Candle Fire Safety week is the 14-20 October and encourages people not to use tea lights, ensure candles are extinguished properly and that candles are not places on TVs or bath tubs. You can read more about candle safety here. In addition, now is a good time to check you have working smoke alarms and even a CO2 alarm if you have a wood burner. Ensuring your wood burner is clear and well swept is also important. And if you get caught in an autumnal downpour please don’t be tempted to dry your clothes infront of a fire as they could easily catch fire if they are too close.
Following the government advice and trying to walk and cycle where you can? Well done you but make sure you have high-viz clothing and lights as the nights get darker much earlier.
Finally LFRS wish to remind people about the importance of checking on your neighbours. Our Nosey Neighbour campaign encouraged people to make a regular phone call to an isolated, vulnerable or elderly person or knock on their door to check they are okay. With darker nights and curtains drawn it is all to easy to forget about how someone is.