With Bonfire Night just around the corner, it seems an apt time for National Burns Week to begin. If you'll be lighting any bonfires, sparklers or fireworks, you also need to take precautions to ensure everyone involved stays safe.
For safe bonfires
- Don't over-stack your bonfire or make it too large to control
- Check immediately before lighting that there's no animal or even a young child hidden inside or nearby
- Never use flammable liquids like paraffin or petrol to get it going as this can result in uncontrolled spread of fire or explosion
- Never put fireworks on a bonfire and don't burn dangerous rubbish (e.g. aerosols, paint tins or foam-filled furniture)
- Make sure spectators are kept well back to prevent flying embers catching alight on clothing
- When it's all over the bonfire needs to be put out completely – don't leave it smouldering as it could catch light again.
Remember the Firework Code
If you plan to use fireworks make sure your Bonfire Night celebration is burn free by following the Firework Safety Code. The code also applies to Sparklers which are often not seen as a potential hazard.
- Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
- Always follow the instructions on each individual firework
- Light fireworks at arm's length using a taper
- Once lit, stand well back
- Never go back to a lit firework
- Never put a firework in your pocket
- Never throw fireworks
- Store fireworks in a closed box in a cool, dry place
Keep sparklers in safe hands - they can get up to six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil.
- Light sparklers one at a time and always wear gloves
- Never give sparklers to a child under the age of five - they will not understand how to use them safely
- Supervise children using sparklers and ensure they are wearing gloves
- Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand
- Plunge finished sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out as they can stay hot for a long time
- Don't take sparklers to public displays. It will be too crowded to use them safely
- Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes that could potentially catch light
- Store sparklers in a closed box in a cool, dry place
More advice on this and how to treat burns at the Burns Advice website
More useful information here in our Tip of the Day section