For firefighters the fortnight surrounding Bonfire Night can be one of the busiest of the year. Last year crews from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to 79 fires and 53 false alarms from October 24 to November 12th.
– Andy Tucker, Risk Manager, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Bonfires can very easily spread to nearby homes, outbuildings, trees and fences. Fireworks are extremely dangerous if not used correctly and can easily maim or kill the person using them, or those nearby.
The fire service advise that for bonfires:
Don't light bonfires in unsuitable weather, particularly in windy conditions.
Don't leave bonfires unattended. An adult should have the time to supervise it until all material is consumed.
If the bonfire has to be left it should be dampened down with water. Keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe handy just in case.
Build bonfires well clear of buildings, fences and hedge.
Take note of the wind direction and ensure smoke from a building does not enter nearby homes or businesses.
Never use flammable liquids to start the fire, and never burn dangerous rubbish such as aerosols, paint, foam furniture, rubber tyres, batteries, etc.
Before you light the bonfire, check that children and animals are not hiding inside and are a safe distance away.
For fireworks they recommend going to an organised display, but if you do intend to use fireworks at home they suggest the following:
Buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
Keep fireworks in a closed box.
Follow the instructions on each firework.
Light them at arms length using a taper.
Stand well back.
Never go back to a lit firework.
Never put fireworks in your pocket.
Never throw fireworks.
Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Sparklers can reach a temperature of up to 2,000°C.
Never give sparklers to children under five.
It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18
It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place
For further advice see the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service website