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Safe use of fireworks at home

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With a national lockdown in force from Thursday 5th November due to Coronavirus, unfortunately many firework events have been cancelled.

This means that many people may be tempted to set off fireworks from home. However, despite annual safety warnings, firework celebrations still end in painful injuries for too many people, including very young children.

Fireworks can be great fun for families, not just around November 5 (Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night), but also Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year.

Injury figures support the advice that the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display - far fewer people are injured here than at smaller family or private parties.

But if you’ll be having a firework party at home, you can make the occasion fun and safe for everyone by following the Firework Code, as well as some sparkler and bonfire safety tips.

The Firework Code

Only adults should deal with setting up firework displays, the lighting of fireworks and the safe disposal of fireworks once they have been used (and remember, alcohol and fireworks don't mix!). Children and young people should be supervised, and watch and enjoy fireworks at a safe distance. Follow these top 10 tips for a safer fireworks party:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and check the time you can legally set off fireworks
  2. Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  7. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

MORE: The law and fireworks

Consider animals

Think about how you can reduce the chance of fireworks frightening and injuring pets, livestock and wildlife, by:

  1. Only letting fireworks off on traditional celebration dates such as Diwali, Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year. People tend to plan ahead of traditional events and protect their animals
  2. Use low noise fireworks. These may reduce the likely fear and resulting stress caused to animals
  3. Let your neighbours know well in advance. That way, they can prepare any animals they look after
  4. Never set off fireworks near livestock. Frightened animals, especially horses, can injure themselves - it's not unusual for horses to run through fences when frightened by fireworks
  5. Remember that fireworks disturb wildlife. Don't let fireworks off near areas known to be wildlife habitats - such as lakes with waterfowl, trees and buildings with roosting birds or bats
  6. Pick up firework debris and litter after it has cooled down. Make sure you dispose of it safely as it can harm animals.

You can find out more about how you can consider animals at www.rspca.org.uk/fireworks

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