Stay safe this bonfire night

Contributed by admin on Oct 21, 2004 - 09:52 PM


Fire and Rescue Service chiefs in Kent are warning people to take extra care this year as the firework and bonfire season draws closer.

Last year Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to 396 bonfire and firework-related incidents – an increase of over 60 per cent o­n the previous year’s figure of 245.

The top five districts for firework and bonfire related fires in 2003 were Medway with 54 incidents, Swale with 42, Maidstone with 37, Thanet with 33 and Sevenoaks with 32.

To cut down o­n the nuisance caused by fireworks being let off irresponsibly, Kent Police has new powers under the Fireworks Regulations 2004. These will be used where necessary so that the police - with local authorities and other emergency services - can ensure that November 5 is an evening to be enjoyed in safety rather than o­ne to be dreaded by local communities.
Chief Superintendent Jan Stephens from Kent Police said: “Bonfire displays must be properly supervised and where crowds of people are expected your local police should be made aware of the event. The tendency at private bonfire parties is to have a drink but the advice is to save any drinking until after the firework display has finished. Even if you are not the o­ne setting off the fireworks, the influence of alcohol could mean that you are less able to supervise young children properly.â€?

Head of Community Fire Safety Stuart Skilton said: “Bonfire and firework season should be an enjoyable time of year but all too often it ends in someone either being injured or property damaged. Always treat fireworks with care and respect and, when holding a bonfire event, follow the simple tips below. These should help ensure that lives remain safe and property intact.�

• o­nly buy fireworks marked BS7114
• Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
• Keep fireworks in a closed box and follow the instructions
• Light them at arm’s length, using a taper
• Stand well back
• Never go near a firework that has been lit, even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
• Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
• Always supervise children around fireworks
• Light sparklers o­ne at a time and wear gloves - Never give sparklers to a child under five
• Keep pets indoors
• Build a bonfire in a clear, unenclosed space at safe distance from buildings, fences and other structures. Make sure it is carefully guarded before an event so that it cannot be set alight deliberately.
• At the end of the event, the bonfire should be extinguished with water to make sure any fire is out.