Bonfire Night safety tips from Devon Fire Rescue Service

IN a bid to keep people safe this Bonfire Night, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has issued a range of safety tips.

IN a bid to keep people safe this Bonfire Night, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has issued a range of safety tips.

The service said that as fireworks are explosives, they should be treated with the utmost respect in their handling and use.

Station Manager Keith Pascoe, from the service's community safety department, said: "While most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery. Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and the Firework Code.

"Laws against fireworks misuse are there to protect communities. Misuse offences relate to throwing, possession and controlling the time of their use. Other laws regulate the supply and sales of fireworks.


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"The purchase of fireworks by anyone under the age of 18 is an offence. Possession of fireworks by anyone under the age of 18 in a public place is also an offence".

FIREWORK SAFETY CHECKLIST

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Preparation is key to enjoying fireworks safely, so:

* Don't buy fireworks from anywhere you're not sure about, like a van or a temporary, unlicensed market stall

* Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 - this is the British Standard that all fireworks should meet (a reputable shop will know this)

* Follow the instructions on each firework - read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame

* Make suitable supports and launchers if you're setting off catherine wheels or rockets

ON THE NIGHT

Things you will need on the night. It's easy to get a few household things together, these are:

* A closed metal box to store the fireworks - take them out one at a time

* A bucket of water - to cool sparklers and put out any small fires

* Eye protection and gloves

* A bucket of earth to stick fireworks in

* Lighting fireworks

* Follow these simple guidelines to stay safe:

* Only one person should be responsible for letting off fireworks

* Don't drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks

* Light fireworks at arm's length, using a taper

* Make sure everyone stands well back

* Never go back to a firework that has been lit - even if it hasn't gone off it could still explode

SPARKLERS

Sparklers are fun, but always:

* Supervise children with sparklers and never give them to a child under five

* Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves

* Put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water

* Other tips on the night

* Finally, follow these other rules for a safe night:

* Keep pets indoors - most animals get very scared by the lights and noise from fireworks

* Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them

* Never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire

* Take care around bonfires - all clothes, even those labelled 'low flammability',

BONFIRES

Bonfires present additional hazards when it's dark.

DO'S AND DON'TS

If you must light a bonfire, in connection with a fireworks display, then:

* Site well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs AND ALWAYS AWAY FROM FIREWORKS.

* Before lighting the fire check that no pets or children are hiding inside it.

* Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.

* NEVER use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire.

* Don't burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, and tins of paint or bottles.

* Keep everyone away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised all the time.

* For an emergency keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.

* Pour water on the embers before leaving.

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