Have a safe Bonfire Night!

West Midlands Fire Service is warning of the dangers of holding firework displays at home this Bonfire Night and giving advice on how to stay safe.



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Published on 2 November 2022

Remember, remember, stay safe in November

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is warning of the dangers of holding firework displays at home this Bonfire Night.

With some public displays cancelled because of the cost of living, and many people unable to afford tickets for those still going ahead, WMFS is urging families to think twice about having bonfires and fireworks at home.

Area Commander Alex Shapland of WMFS said: “We know that lots of people really look forward to Bonfire Night.

“Organised public displays, with first-aiders on hand, are usually the safest option, but this year such events might be too expensive for many as they look to save money to meet the cost of living.

“If you are having to cut back, please don’t be tempted to cut corners with safety.

“Fireworks are explosives. If you feel you must have or go to a bonfire party, please plan carefully. Be sure to buy suitable, legal fireworks and that you have enough outdoor space to use them safely, in line with the instructions.

“Of course, not everyone enjoys fireworks, so let your neighbours know beforehand and please spare a thought for more vulnerable people and pets.”

Ensure that fireworks are bought from a licensed supplier or authorised retailer, who can also provide appropriate advice. Fireworks must not be bought or used by anyone under 18 and should carry the CE safety mark.

The distance required between spectators and fireworks will range from five to 25 metres - almost the length of three fire engines - so the garden will need to be longer than the distance shown on the firework.

For organised displays in and around Birmingham and the West Midlands this weekend, visit Birmingham Live's website, which has details of a range of organised events.

Bonfire with several people holding marshmallows on sticks over it.

If you do decide to go ahead with a bonfire party this year

  • displays must finish before 11pm
  • fireworks should only be bought if they carry the CE mark
  • keep them in a closed, secure box away from children, flammable items and sources of heat
  • use fireworks one at a time and read/follow the instructions with a torch
  • light fireworks at arm's length with a taper and keep them away from naked flames, including cigarettes
  • no-one should return to a firework once it has been lit
  • fireworks should never be kept in pockets or thrown
  • direct fireworks well away from spectators
  • ensure that everyone stands well back from fireworks and bonfires
  • be mindful that bonfires and fires caused by fireworks can spread quickly to nearby hedges, trees and buildings
  • don't drink alcohol if you’re responsible for the event
  • don’t use petrol, paraffin, diesel, white spirit or methylated spirit to light the bonfire
  • ensure the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving - damp down the area with buckets of water.

Find out more about firework safety.

Sparkler safety

Sparklers generate heat levels comparable to a welding torch. Follow these helpful sparkler safety guidelines:

  • it’s recommended that sparklers aren’t given to under-5s
  • make sure everyone who handles sparklers wears gloves
  • sparklers should be held at arm's length while being lit, and only light one at a time
  • don’t wave sparklers around close to other people
  • never hold a baby in your arms while you're holding a sparkler
  • when the sparkler has burned out, place it, hot end down, in a bucket of cold water or sand and leave it there for several hours - they stay hot for a long time!

Find out more about sparkler safety.

For information on first aid for minor burns, please visit: https://www.capt.org.uk/first-aid-for-burns-and-scalds

Read more safety tips from RoSPA: https://www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/fireworks-safety

Know the law relating to fireworks: https://www.gov.uk/fireworks-the-law

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