How to Stay Safe During Firework Season

In this article, we will discuss our top 3 safety tips that you should follow prior to lighting a bonfire or setting off fireworks.

November and December are very popular months in the UK for bonfires and firework displays; with Diwali, Bonfire Night and the approaching Festive Season - providing enjoyment for all the family. However, they can also be extremely dangerous and pose a threat to life if the correct safety procedures aren’t in place.

According to NHS England, there were almost 2,000 occasions of people going to A&E linked to Fireworks in 2018/2019. With more than 35,000 people sought advice from the website on how to treat burns and scalds.

In this article, we will discuss our top 3 safety tips that you should follow prior to lighting a bonfire or setting off fireworks.

Skills Training Centre’s Top 3 Tips For Bonfire and Firework Safety

1. Only buy fireworks from licensed retailers

In the UK, you must ensure that your fireworks display the CE, UKCA or UKNI marks and that they are purchased from licensed retailers, who stock fireworks that comply with current safety standards. Registered sellers will only be able to sell fireworks to you on these dates: 

  • 15 October to 10 November

  • 26 to 31 December

  • Three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year

It’s essential that prior to purchasing you check that the box of fireworks is unopened and hasn't been tampered with. Flouting these rules can result in an unlimited fine and potential imprisonment for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.

2. Build your bonfire with care

This is definitely something you shouldn’t rush, take your time to ensure maximum safety for you and the spectators. Prior to building your bonfire you should check if you need a permit in your desired location and apply accordingly. When building, make sure it is well away from property, fences, garages, sheds, overhead cables and shrubbery/trees. It’s key to ensure that all spectators are at least 15m away from the fire, so bear this in mind when deciding on a location.

It's essential that no Tyres, Cylinders, Canisters, Aerosols, Paints, Plastics, Rubber & Foam filled furniture are put onto the bonfire, due to their hazardous and flammable nature, these would be detrimental to spectators and the environment.

3. Have the correct PPE in place

There is no reason not to wear PPE when lighting a bonfire or setting off fireworks, given the long list of potential risks. However, surprisingly, so many people chose not to protect themselves and see it as unnecessary, especially those hosting a small fireworks display at their homes.

Investing in some key pieces of PPE will protect you from flames, sparks and more serious problems that can arise. See below a full list of PPE that should be considered:

  • Wear gloves and use a taper lighter to light each firework and the bonfire, at arms length.

  • Wear suitable clothing, including a thick coat and sturdy footwear. Both arms and legs should be covered at all times to minimise burns.

  • Goggles can be ones that are predominately used for DIY or specific fire safety goggles. If you already wear glasses, these DO NOT count as PPE.

  • Wear a form of hat, cap or even better a safety helmet to protect yourself from falling ash, sparks or an unruly firework.

  • Ensure you have sufficient water nearby; this could be a garden hose or even a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency. The bonfire must be completely out before you leave it unattended.

  • A torch is handy for being able to read the firework instructions before lighting, so you can see your footing and for checking for animals in your bonfire before lighting.

What Fire Extinguisher Should I Use?

The six main fire extinguisher types are water, foam, CO2, powder, water mist and wet chemical and each of these can be used on six classes of fire.

  • Water:
    Class A fires (solid combustibles such as wood, paper and textiles). Some water extinguishers are safe on electrical equipment if di-electrically tested. Otherwise, caution is required near electrical equipment, as ordinary water is a conductor. Water fire extinguishers have a red label.

  • AFFF foam:
    Class A and B (flammable liquids). Safe on electrical equipment if di-electrically tested. AFFF foam fire extinguishers have a cream label.

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2):
    Class B and electrical equipment. CO2 fire extinguishers have a black label.

  • ABC powder:
    Class A, B, C (flammable gases) and electrical equipment. ABC powder fire extinguishers have a blue label.

  • De-Ionised water mist:
    Class A, B, C and electrical equipment. De-ionised water mist fire extinguishers have a white label.

  • Wet chemical:
    Class F (deep fat) fires, sometimes class A. Wet Chemical fire extinguishers have a yellow label.

What fire safety training does Skills Training Centre provide?

Our Fire Wardens incl. Fire Safety & Fire Extinguishers course is for all fire wardens or staff responsible for carrying out fire drills and checking that fire doors are working properly. The course also covers different types of fires, which type of extinguisher to use, and how to extinguish a small fire.

The aim of the Fire Wardens incl. Fire Safety & Fire Extinguisher is to provide staff with the relevant skills and knowledge to fulfil their role as fire wardens. This is a full-day course and is suitable for designated fire wardens or those responsible for carrying out fire drills and checking that fire doors are working properly.

We don’t believe in delivering courses that just tick boxes, we provide training that allows our attendees to learn new skills, improve existing skills and retain industry-based knowledge. The courses we provide are designed to be relevant and cost effective and are delivered to high standards. Our instructors are professional and experienced in their respective fields and are highly skilled at taking into account the needs of individuals with different skills, abilities and experience. 

If you wish to gain further insight into our Fire Safety training courses and what Skills Training Centre can provide for you, please get in touch.

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