Be respectful this bonfire night

DORSET & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is joining forces with other blue light agencies to help keep people safe this bonfire and fireworks season.

With many organised events cancelled – including the beach bonfire and fireworks display in Lyme Regis – emergency services are preparing for a busier time than usual as people celebrate at home.

Ian Hopkins, prevention delivery manager at Dorset & Wiltshire Fire , said: “We are asking everyone to show respect this Bonfire Night, to their neighbours, to the emergency services, and to the real dangers that fireworks and bonfires can pose.

“Everything is very different this year, we know families will want to have some fun, so we all need to think twice about what we’re doing, take extra care and follow all the advice about how to stay safe.”

Whilst most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery. Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code:

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm
  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch if necessary
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  • Make sure that the fire is out, and surroundings are made safe, before leaving

 Whilst the country continues to live within a global pandemic, it is essential that people avoid taking risks, potentially putting additional pressures on the emergency services. 

 A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) spokesperson said: “We would encourage everyone to stay safe this bonfire and fireworks season, and to prevent injuries by following the Firework Code.

“If someone does suffer a burn, get it treated as soon as possible to limit the damage to their skin.”

The following advice was issued on treating burns:

  • Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes immediately after the injury is sustained, then cover the burn with clingfilm or a clean plastic bag
  • Give the person paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce their pain
  • Take them to a hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department for large burns, or burns that cause white charred or blistered skin
  • Call NHS 111 for advice if you don’t know what to do, or call 999 for an ambulance if they are seriously injured or their life may be at risk

For more information and advice, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/burns-and-scalds/treatment/

At this time of year, we all need to respect our neighbours. Fireworks can frighten people and animals, and the elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise.

Tell your neighbours if you’re planning to let off fireworks, and avoid purchasing really noisy ones. You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for bonfire night itself, when the cut off is midnight.

T/Superintendent Heather Dixey from Dorset Police said: “Please respect the ‘rule of six’ on bonfire night this year. Meeting in a group of more than six people, indoors or outdoors including children of any age, is against the law.

“We know that fireworks can be great fun, but please remember that you must be over 18 to purchase fireworks and that it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks – including sparklers – in the street or other public places.

“You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally, and there’s also an on the spot fine of £90.” 

Fireworks can also cause a great deal of distress to animals. In a recent survey, 62% of dog owners reported their pets showing signs of distress during fireworks season, with 54% of cat owners experiencing the same.

The RSPCA’s ‘Bang Out Of Order’ campaign encourages the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use. 

Please show some respect this bonfire night. For further information about staying safe, please visit www.dwfire.org.uk

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 2648 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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