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Our Favourite Firework Safety Tips

Colourful fireworks can bring joy and light to the darkest winter nights for both children and adults. Here are our favourite firework safety tips, to keep the experience a safe one

 

November 5th brings with it an increase in the number of fireworks set off in the UK, as well as the number of accidents and injuries that go along with the colourful displays.

In a controlled environment, with the right supervision and safety precautions, fireworks displays can be a great family outing. Handled carelessly, both children and adults can end up with burns and other injuries.

Remember, fireworks are compacted gun powder, and when mixed with heat, they are designed to explode!

Firework safety: be smart and stay safe

Types of fireworks

In the UK there are four categories of fireworks:

  1. Indoor fireworks
  2. Garden fireworks
  3. Display fireworks
  4. Professional fireworks

Category 2 and 3 are available to the general public, and can only be used between 7am and 11pm all year round, or until midnight on Bonfire Night, New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Adults only

Fireworks should never be handled by children. They should be stored in a place that children can't reach or stumble across. When it comes to lighting them, children should never be anywhere close by.

Sparklers

These are meant for children, but they can reach 1800 °F (982 °C), the same temperature that gold melts at. It's recommended that children under 12 don't handle sparklers. Make sure your children know how to hold them and keep them away from flammable items such as synthetic clothing and hair.

Sparklers should be held at arm's length, and children should stand in one place when holding them. You should also make sure that there is 5-6 feet between the individual holding the sparkler and anyone else.

If you do give a child sparklers, give them one that's unlit, and light it from another sparkler. This is to reduce the risk of a child dropping a lit sparkler in the handover. Have a bucket of water close by to put the sticks in as soon as they finish sparking!

Buying fireworks

Fireworks are not something to buy off the back of a lorry or from that guy down the street, or even worse, something you try to make at home. If you are buying fireworks, make sure you buy reputable brands and from someone licensed to sell fireworks.

You can buy them from registered sellers from October 15th to November 10th, December 26th to 31st, and three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Fireworks packaged for consumers are usually in colourful packages. If you come across ones in brown paper, they are made for professional use, and should not be used in your backyard or at a local event unless by a trained professional.

Remember, only those 18 years and older can purchase fireworks.

Use only in open spaces

Be smart about where you set off fireworks. Only use them outdoors, don't point them towards buildings or people, and try to find a location that doesn't have any obstacles in the way, such as trees.

Never set off fireworks in a bucket or metal container, if they ricochet off the walls you'll have no control over the direction they explode.

Be safe with fireworks

Don't combine fireworks, or try to attach them to one another. Use them exactly as the instructions say. Have a bucket of water and a fire extinguisher handy, in case there is an emergency.

Don't carry fireworks in your pocket, or light them while they are still in your hand. All it takes is enough heat and you'll have an explosion in your hands.

Light them one at a time and don't try to re-light one if it doesn't go off - there may be something faulty. Wait at least 20 minutes to approach and put it directly into a bucket of water - it's not worth the risk!

Dress yourself and your children in tight clothing that's not synthetic, and wear closed toe shoes.

Pets and fireworks

Pets have sensitive hearing and may not enjoy fireworks as much as you. It's recommended that you don't bring pets with you to a fireworks display.

More firework safety information

 
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