Playing with fire: your guide to a safer fireworks night

Fido the Firedog from Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) teaches you how to celebrate safely this bonfire night (5 November). 

Last year, Bonfire Night was the busiest day of the year for AF&RS. In 2020, call handlers received 117 999 calls, double the usual number of calls the Service receive. From shed fires, to firework explosions, firefighters responded to an array of Bonfire Night-related incidents.

Whether you’re lighting a bonfire, hosting a firework display, or playing with sparklers, the 5November is always an exciting occasion. Many of us will be partaking in these traditions and making memories with family. However, you’re celebrating, local firefighters want to make sure your night doesn’t end in blue lights.

Using fireworks safely is an important part of tradition and can prevent damage and injury. Fireworks can seem straightforward to use but the potential dangers of misusing them can put a real dampener on your night.

Fido the Firedog and Firefighter Craig got together to share some key safety messages and advice for celebrating this fireworks night. 

Firefighter Craig Carter said: “When buying fireworks, ensure that they have the UKCA or CE safety mark. Most supermarkets and trusted retailers will have fireworks that comply with this. Keep your fireworks in a closed box or tin, out of reach of children.

“When it’s time to light up, keep fireworks at least an arm’s length away and make sure everyone stands well back. There’s nothing worse than when the firework doesn’t go off; but don’t be tempted to try and re-light it; it could still go off!”

Even Fido can get frightened sometimes, Firefighter Craig said: “Fireworks can upset animals and small children, so be mindful of this when planning your celebration. You may opt to have a bonfire instead.

“When doing this, make sure you keep your bonfire well clear of any buildings, sheds, fences, trees and hedges. Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby. When assembling your bonfire, only include dry materials and never use flammable liquids or accelerants. Never leave the fire unattended, and keep well back when watching.”

Craig and Fido like to celebrate bonfire night with their families and friends.  Firefighter Craig added: “A safer way of enjoying the evening could be using sparklers. These small sticks provide a stunning display, and can be easily extinguished with a bucket of water. You can also use a carrot as a holder for your sparkler. Children under five should not use sparklers, and you should always supervise when they are being used.”