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Stay Home, Stay Safe this Fireworks Night

Written by on 4th November 2020

With many organised events cancelled, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are preparing for a busier night than usual as people plan to celebrate in their own gardens.

We are currently amidst a global pandemic and we are asking people not to take risks, putting additional pressures on our emergency services. We are asking everyone to show RESPECT this Bonfire Night and please stay home and stay safe.

Last year, between 23th October and 6th November South Wales Fire and Rescue service attended 150 deliberate fires – a 50% decrease since 2018. They’d like to keep this number decreasing as attending firework and bonfire misuse incidents can cost lifesaving minutes in our firefighters getting to other emergencies. Fireworks and bonfires can be extremely dangerous if not managed and handled correctly. Please don’t put your loved ones or local community at risk, fires can spread and become out of control in a matter of seconds, risking damage to property, injury and even death. Firework and bonfire misuse related incidents can cost lifesaving minutes in firefighters getting to other emergencies.

Fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. After all, fireworks are explosives. Tell your neighbours if you’re a planning on letting off fireworks and avoid purchasing really noisy ones. Fire smoke can also irritate airways, the skin and eyes, causing coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain. People with asthma and other respiratory diseases may become unwell because of fire smoke. These people are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Please don’t make things worse for them, the NHS, or the emergency services. 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.

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.

  • Make sure all fireworks comply with approved standards and regulations.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them.
  • Light them at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back.
  • Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
  • Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket.
  • Respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow.
  • Take care with sparklers – never give them to children under five.
  • Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use.
  • Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening.

Bonfires can also be a significant fire risk and we advise that residents refrain from having fires in gardens, and be considerate of any neighbours with breathing conditions who may also be self-isolating with symptoms of Covid-19. We also do not advise anyone to burn garden or household waste. Please instead use your local authority waste, recycling and composting services or store it for when you can. Further info is here, including a link to UK Government guidance.

Head of Fire Crime and Home Safety, Group Manager Paul Mason said:

“This time of year is always fun and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy the celebrations safely. Our message is simple – be sensible and look after yourselves and each other so that you don’t require our services during your evening. We attend many unsupervised fires and injuries caused by fireworks and out of control bonfires. Fireworks and bonfires are a lot of fun but it’s very important to be cautious and to enjoy the celebrations responsibly. Acting irresponsibly around fires and fireworks can have devastating consequences, can cause life threatening injuries and can even cost lives.”

Injuries can be prevented by following the Firework code. If you do suffer a burn, ensure you:-

  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.
  • Call 999 if necessary. Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned.