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Top tips for keeping safe this Halloween and Bonfire night

Halloween and bonfire night are traditionally some of the busiest times of year for fire crews.

Last year, between 26th October and 6th November South Wales fire crews attended 232 deliberate fires – a 22% decrease on the previous year.

Although the number of incidents have declined, more can be done to keep this number decreasing as attending firework and bonfire misuse incidents can cost lifesaving minutes in firefighters getting to a road traffic collision or a house fire for example.

In 2018 alone crews attended 60 incidents relating to fireworks and bonfires. Fireworks can be spectacular, but they are dangerous and can cause serious injury if handled irresponsibly. If you are looking to enjoy fireworks this year why not go to a safe, organised public display?

If you are purchasing fireworks, remember;

  • Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114.
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them.
  • Light them at arm’s length using a taper and stand well back.
  • Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
  • Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket.
  • Respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow.
  • Take care with sparklers – never give them to children under five. Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use.
  • Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening.

Bonfires can also be a fire risk, so always look for alternative ways to get rid of your waste, but if you do have a bonfire, make sure you follow our safety tips;

  • Build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire and never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries.
  • Always keep buckets of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire.
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water.
  • Check the area to make sure there’s no wildlife or pets hiding nearby.

With regards to Halloween, unsupervised candles in pumpkins and lanterns are a concern, especially when used around fancy dress outfits. An alternative is to use battery powered lights instead of candles in your pumpkin lantern especially if you are holding a children’s party. Don’t forget to buy fancy dress outfits that are labelled as flame-resistant to reduce harm (BS EN 71-2 compliant).

Head Fire Crime and Home Safety, Group Manager Neil Davies said: “This time of year is always fun and we want to make sure that everyone can enjoy the celebrations safely. Our message is simple – be sensible and look after yourselves and each other so that you don’t require our services during your evening.

“We attend many unsupervised fires and injuries caused by fireworks and out of control bonfires. The safest thing you can do is plan ahead and attend an organised display. Fireworks and bonfires are a lot of fun but it’s very important to be cautious and to enjoy the celebrations responsibly. Acting irresponsibly around fires and fireworks can have devastating consequences, can cause life threatening injuries and can even cost lives.

“If you are planning on having a supervised bonfire please notify our Joint Fire Control on 01268 909 408 or for more advice and guidance please visit our website: https://www.southwales-fire.gov.uk/your-safety-wellbeing/.”