Out and About

Bonfire Night Fun and Games

Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night is November 5…right around the corner!

To ensure that you’ll be having Bonfire Night Fun & Games and not spending time in A&E, it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality. Whether you’re attending a community celebration or holding one in your back garden, there are a number of factors to be aware of to keep the evening safe and fun for all members of the family.

Building a bonfire

Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important:

  • build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees
  • check there are no cables, like telephone wires, above the bonfire
  • don’t build the bonfire too big and make sure the stack is stable and won’t collapse outwards or to one side
  • use only dry material – damp material will cause more smoke, which could annoy your neighbours or be harmful to people with breathing difficulties
  • don’t burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode causing injury
  • remove any rubbish from the area around the bonfire so no one is tempted to throw something on to the fire
  • check the bonfire before lighting it – piles of garden waste are sometimes used as a refuge by hibernating wildlife
  • don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going – it may get out of control quickly

Bonfire safety tips

Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:

  • keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby, in case of emergencies
  • don’t leave the bonfire unattended
  • keep children and pets away from the bonfire
  • don’t throw any fireworks into the fire

Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting.

Firework safety checklist

Figures have shown that more children than adults get hurt by fireworks. If you are thinking of using fireworks as part of your celebrations, you should follow the steps listed below.

Before your firework display

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

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 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’, can catch fire

For more information, visit the Direct Gov site. Keep this year’s Bonfire/Guy Fawkes Night safe and fun for everyone involved. Do your part to be prepared.

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