Bonfire Night is a fun time for families and most parents know how to keep it as accident free as possible. But it never hurts to have a quick safety refresher, especially as in recent years around half of all firework injuries have happened at private events. Health & Safety training expert Matthew Cooke shares his top ten tips with us:
1. Make sure your children are wearing the right clothes — avoid clothing that’s too loose as this is at risk of catching fire. Also make sure that your kids wear thick gloves to protect their hands from sparklers.
2. Buy fireworks with the right kitemark — make sure all fireworks have the BS7114 safety code marked on them. Also make sure to store them in a metal box, as this will help to prevent any accidental lighting.
3. Don’t light fireworks after 11pm or before 7am — this is actually illegal and you could be fined.
4. Be asthma aware — if your child has asthma, it may be better for them to watch the bonfire from indoors. If you feel that this would spoil their fun too much, then try to keep them distant from the fire. Make sure you leave the house with their inhaler handy.
5. Don’t go near lit fireworks — this may sound obvious but if a firework hasn’t gone off it may not be a dud, it may just be delayed. So be as careful as possible and douse any non-working fireworks in water.
6. Don’t build too high a bonfire — this will prevent the fire from getting out of hand. Also make sure to check for wild animals such as hedgehogs in the firewood pile before lighting it.
7. Don’t light bonfires with flammable liquids —obviously, this includes petrol. Instead, use a domestic fire lighter or taper.
8. Keep at least one bucket of water handy — this isn’t only for emergencies. You should also throw all used sparklers into the bucket, to prevent a child from accidentally picking one up.
9. Go over sparkler safety with your children beforehand — make sure they know they correct way to hold a sparkler, that they should never pick up a used one and that they should drop each one in a bucket of water when it’s done.
10. Keep your pets indoors — even if you think you have non-jumpy pets, they should still be kept safely inside on Bonfire Night.
Remember, even although you’re probably clued-up on basic Bonfire Night safety, your kids might not be. So do go over the safety tips with them too beforehand.
**Have a great Bonfire Night**
Matthew Cooke is the owner of The Training Co. which offers accredited UK-wide courses in First Aid, Health & Safety and Food Safety.