Whether you are running an event in your back garden, or nipping down to the local sports club to watch a huge, professional display, Bonfire Night is one of the most enjoyable evenings of the year for many.
Professional displays, such as the Light Up Watford event at Cassiobury Park, have become more and more popular over the years, but many people still enjoy the thrill of lighting the fireworks themselves.
However, amongst the ‘oooohs and aaaahs’, jacket potatoes in foil and toffee apples, there is also the risk of injury. Fireworks are, after all, mini explosive devices. Even though you might already be familiar with the Fireworks Code, it never hurts to remind yourself of just why you need to be so careful.
Therefore, thebestof Watford has these handy tips that will (hopefully!) ensure your safety this Bonfire Night:
Keep fireworks in a closed box
Matches, lighters, fireworks themselves and bonfires - even using the hob to make some hot chocolate - they all give off sparks and flame. Children and pets also have a habit of getting in where they are not supposed to be. Keeping fireworks in a sealed box, ideally a tin, helps keep them safe from accidental ignition and wandering hands or paws.
Follow the instructions on each and every firework
For very obvious reasons, always use a torch rather than a match to see the instructions on the side of each firework, which will tell you exactly how it needs to be used - secured in the ground, placed in a launching tube or even nailed to a post. They can all be different and getting it wrong could spell disaster.
Light all fireworks at arm's length
Make sure that you always wear gloves when lighting fireworks because there is always a small chance they could go off as you light the blue touch-paper. The glove will protect your hand, but not your face if you are leaning too close.
Stand well back
The firework might topple over after the first pop, it might shower sparks over a much wider area than you thought. Make sure you are far enough away to remain safe. You’ll get a better view anyway.
Never go back to a lit firework
Sometimes it takes longer than you thought for the fuse to reach the all-important explosives. Leaning over a lit firework to see what’s going on... Just think about that for a second. Now don’t do it.
Never put fireworks in your pocket
Highly flammable powder, phosphorus, sodium – you’ve probably used these in chemistry lessons in school, always using safety goggles and gloves. Fireworks contain these and other unpleasant ingredients. And they can leak. Keep them in the box. Unless you want poisoned toffee and a pocketful of gunpowder next to the bonfire, that is.
Never throw fireworks
Fireworks can be unpredictable. They may take more or less time to go off than you thought. Or spray in a different direction when they land. Is it worth losing fingers when it goes off in your hand, or spraying a friend in the face with sparks?
Keep pets indoors
As well as the bangs and whizzes causing significant distress to animals across the country, fireworks are, as we’ve seen above, poisonous. That remains true for spent cases lying around. Keep pets inside, away from the noise and danger of the night.
There’s no denying that fireworks are fun, and a great traditional night in the English calendar. But sadly around 1,000 people are admitted to hospital every year with injuries relating to fireworks every November.
Have fun, but stay safe, and follow the fireworks code.