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What is the Firework Code? How to enjoy Bonfire Night safely

Whatever your plans might be this bonfire night it is worth understanding what the firework code is and following some simple health & safety advice for bonfire night. 

While the festivities bring people together, fireworks can also run the risk of dangerous injuries including burns and scalds if not executed properly. Collectively, over the bonfire night and Diwali period last year, more than 35,000 people sought advice from the NHS.uk website on how to treat burns and scalds, a significant jump on usual numbers.

Enjoy fireworks Safely this year (image sourced via Shutterstock)

What Is the Firework Code?

Despite annual safety warnings, firework celebrations still end in painful injuries for too many people, including children. According to figures from NHS Digital, there were almost 2,000 occasions of people going to A&E linked to fireworks in 2018/19.

ROSPA created a fireworks code to help everyone enjoying fireworks stay safe.  The code is made up of ten advice points which are listed below:

  1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and check the time you can legally set off fireworks in your area
  1. Only buy fireworks which carry the CE or UKCA marks, keep them in a closed box, and use them one at a time
  1. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  1. Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  1. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  1. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  1. Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  1. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  1. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  1. Make sure that the fire is out, and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

What do the Firework Categories Mean?

Not all fireworks are created the same. When purchasing fireworks, you must be careful to choose the right category depending on the number of important variables. These firework categories impose a noise limit, outline how much space should be given when using them, and ensure the firework has a safety fuse and clear instructions on the label.

  • Category F1 refers to fireworks which pose a minimal hazard and this classification is usually given to indoor fireworks
  • Category F2 items (sometimes known as garden fireworks) require the smallest distance, which is eight metres or 15 metres
  • Category F3 items (sometimes known as display fireworks) require the greatest distance which is at least 25 metres.
  • Category F4 should only be purchased by professionals for larger organised displays

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Safety Tips to follow Around the Bonfire

Safety Tips to follow Around the Bonfire

  • Designate one to be responsible for the bonfire and children should always be supervised
  • Choose a site away from wooden fences, sheds and where children will be playing
  • Never pour petrol, paraffin or meths on to a fire – it’s safer to use fire lighters to prevent flare-ups
  • Keep buckets of water or a water hose handy in case of an accident
  • Avoid loose clothing and tie back long hair
  • After the party, pour water on the fire, rather than leaving it to burn out.

We hope that should you attend a display or host a bonfire night that you are safe and enjoy the festivities. To find out more about the Buddy and our range of Health & Safety Courses, please check out our website for more details. We run courses both online and in the classroom nationwide.

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