Fears cuts to public Bonfire Night displays over costs will result in casualties

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There are fears that hospital admissions will rise as people light bonfires and fireworks at home rather than attending public displays. Credit: PA

There are fears of multiple casualties this Bonfire Night as more people light fires and fireworks at home, because public displays have been cancelled over costs.

Multiple public displays have been cancelled this year, including in Nottingham, with the city council citing increased costs caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

Nottingham City Council said it's "reluctantly" taken the decision to cancel the event, as it's facing "huge budget difficulties" which have been "exacerbated by rising inflation and energy costs."

Now the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, based in Birmingham, says it fears accidents at home may rise this year because 15 councils have cancelled public displays.

Ashley Martin, Public Health Advisor for RoSPA, said: "In previous years, figures relating to firework injuries tend to indicate that fewer people are harmed at small gatherings than large public displays.

"And so, with the recent announcements that many events are being cancelled, we are anxious that there could be a rise in hospital admissions."

In 2021 there were 117 individual cases of firework related injuries.

The society is warning people hosting amateur displays to follow safety guidelines:

"We understand that the Cost of Living Crisis is weighing on a lot of people's minds, and the cancellation of organised fireworks displays due to cutbacks, but we encourage those considering throwing an event to educate themselves by following our Firework Code.

"For instance, with the emergence of illegal sales, one of our codes states that one should only purchase fireworks that carry UKCA marks. 

"Overall, we wish those taking part in any celebrations to enjoy themselves to the fullest, but apply our safety rules when embarking on any firework-related activities." 

The Firework Code is: 

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and check the time you can legally set off fireworks

  • In England, Scotland and Wales only buy fireworks which carry the UKCA marks. In the case of Northern Ireland look for the UKNI symbol. You may also see the UKNI mark along with the UKCA symbol. Keep your fireworks in a closed box, and use them one at a time 

  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary 

  • Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back 

  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks 

  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit 

  • Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them 

  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators 

  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire 

  • Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.