Updated 05 November 2013

10 safety tips for Guy Fawkes

A burst of colour against a darkened sky. Fireworks can be spectacular, but are also dangerous.

Traditionally Guy Fawkes is celebrated with an array of fireworks and sparklers. Although beautiful and spectacular to watch, fireworks are not without their dangers. If not used correctly, they can cause serious injuries and start fires.

And a special word of warning - many pets are so traumatised by fireworks displays, they run away from home. So keep them locked up and away from the action.

And do make sure of the municipal regulations on fireworks - in may urban areas it is illegal to light fireworks. You might have a nasty run-in with the law if you do. Check where the designated areas are and stick to them.

So before you light that rocket, brush up on some safety tips.

  • Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of a malfunctioning firework.
  • Be sure to set off the fireworks in an area clear of people.
  • Fireworks should only be lit in a designated area away from homes and other buildings, trees and cars. Never light fireworks on the grass, but always on a smooth, flat surface such as concrete or the pavement.
  • If a firework does not ignite, do not attempt to re-light it. Wait at least 15 minutes before you investigate.
  • Never allow children to touch, handle or light fireworks.
  • Pet owners need to take special precaution in keeping their pets safe. Don’t take pets to firework shows - rather lock them up safely inside the house. Pick up leftover sparklers or other sharp objects, as these could injure your pet later. A mild sedative or tranquiliser can calm the fears of an extremely stressed animal. Speak to your vet about this
  • Sparklers can be just as dangerous. Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hands. Put finished sparklers with the hot end down in a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out. Don’t take sparklers to crowded public displays, as it will be too crowded to use them safely.
  • Never give sparklers to the under fives - they will not understand how to use them safely. Always supervise children using sparklers. Give children gloves to wear when holding sparklers. Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes as they may catch fire. Show children how to hold sparklers away from their bodies and at arm’s length. Teach them no to wave sparklers near anyone else or run while holding them
  • In an emergency do the following: Cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes. Cut around material sticking to the skin - don't pull it off. Don't touch the burn or burst any blisters. Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material - cling film is ideal - to prevent infection. If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material such as a woollen blanket.

(Picture: fireworks and spectators from Shutterstock)




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