One of the highlights of autumn, before the first official days of winter, is Bonfire Night. It’s a uniquely British celebration and many regions of the UK have their own take on the festivities. Here are our top tips for having fun and staying safe on November 5th.
Building a Bonfire
Always ensure you build any bonfire in an open area away from all other buildings and objects such as trees, fences and overhead cables. It’s easy for a fire to get out of control so make sure you have an extinguisher nearby and it is a good idea to have a bucket or two of sand.
Most people don’t bother with a bonfire at home and will attend a local event that has been organised professionally. If you are thinking of building your own bonfires, for anything but a small fire you will need to contact the local fire service and make sure that you have appropriate first aid services on site.
Buying and Setting Off Fireworks
Always buy fireworks from a reputable source. While most people don’t bother with a bonfire on the big night, many do decide to have a mini display in their back garden. This can seem like a good idea at the time but can cause problems if you don’t organise things properly.
Fireworks can upset pets like dogs and cats so it’s worth informing your neighbours that you will be setting off a few fireworks so they can keep their pets in. If you live in a town or city area, the chances are that you’ll have a combined bonfire and fireworks display nearby and it might be a lot more cost effective to attend this rather than organise your own.
If you do decide to host your own firework display it is very important to set your fireworks off under controlled circumstances. If you want everyone to stay safe, there are a number of safety tips you should follow:
- Only adults should deal with fireworks and you should ideally have one, sober person who is responsible for storing and setting them off.
- Make sure you read the instructions for setting off the fireworks and follow these fully.
- Ensure you have enough space to run your firework display – rockets can shoot off in all directions and once they are lit there’s not much you can do.
- Have a fire extinguisher and a bucket of sand handy in case something goes wrong.
- The ideal way to set off fireworks is to have a container with sand in it which you can stand them up in a safe distance from the spectators.
- Wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself and avoid setting off too many fireworks in one go.
- The general rule is that, once you have lit a firework, you should stand well back. If, for some reason the firework doesn’t go off, you must wait an appropriate length of time to make sure the fuse has gone out completely before approaching again.
- Finally, you should watch the time. It’s illegal to set off fireworks after midnight.
Bonfire night is a brilliant time to have fun, whether you’re organising something for the children or an adult party. Weather permitting it’s also a great opportunity to get out the barbecue for one last time and cook up some scrumptious food before winter sets in. Traditional fayre at bonfires include baked potatoes wrapped in foil, plenty of cake and treats and the chance to play games like bobbing for apples. Sparklers are another staple of bonfire night and children find them exciting to play with – they are not without their safety issues however and parents should always light them and watch children carefully to make sure they don’t come to any harm. Always keep them at arm’s length and once finished extinguish the sparkler by burying in a bucket of sand.
Have a wonderful bonfire night and please stay safe!