Ah, Bonfire Night. Our annual opportunity to trudge with our families across dark fields to watch the Guy go up in flames. Fireworks will colour the sky, sulphur will fill our nostrils, parkin will clog our stomachs.
It is also the time of year when we are warned of the dangers of reckless behaviour or poorly organised events. The TV is full of adverts warning you to be careful with sparklers, handling fireworks or getting too close to the bonfire. And with good reason: last year St John’s Ambulance reported a 111% increase in Bonfire Night-related injuries between 2009 and 2015.
So how can event organisers and attendees limit the risk of injury on 5 November? Aside from common sense (!!), here are a few tips to ensure the evening can be enjoyed by all, without any unexpected drama.
Leave it to the experts!
Organisers of large events usually appoint a company to set up the fireworks display or build the bonfire. They will have been properly trained and vetted, and they will be required to comply with health and safety regulations. There is much less chance of something going wrong at these events, rather than at impromptu bonfires in the local park!
Personally, I prefer the “look but don’t touch” approach to November 5th; I can barely light the gas hob, so why would I be let loose on fireworks?! If there are experts who handle displays, I am happy to let them to do their job!
Don’t get your fingers burnt…
We normally use this phrase in a metaphorical sense – but not in this instance! If you are handling fireworks or sparklers at home, or are lighting the bonfire, be careful! Make sure the fuel you are using is safe and that everyone is a safe distance away. Check that the surroundings are suitable; don’t build the bonfire or put your Roman Candles next to the garden fence!!
Make sure you dispose of exhausted fireworks and sparklers carefully. Wear gloves when sparklers are being used. Do not throw them in the bin immediately after use; they may be hot enough to ignite something in there.
If possible, we recommend checking that the event you are attending has insurance in place. Insurers offer specific Bonfire Night event insurance, which a lot of venues insist upon before agreeing to host.
It is worth checking insurance for two reasons. First, it suggests that the organiser has prepared properly. Second, it means that in the worst-case scenario, you have options if you or someone you know is unlucky enough to be injured. The last thing you want is to attend an uninsured event, something to go wrong and to have nobody to claim against for your injury.
If the event is only small, with friends or family, be even more careful; it is less likely that insurance will cover an accident involving the bonfire or fireworks.
Most of the above is fairly obvious, and ties in with applying simple common sense on Bonfire Night. If you keep your wits about you and don’t do anything daft, the evening will be a sure fire hit… (groan)!
Tel: 01924 692125
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