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Watching the fireworks? Stay safe out there...

4th November 2013

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It’s Bonfire Night tomorrow and you’ve probably got your scarves, sparklers and mulled cider at the ready (just us?) – but amongst the revelry that comes with November 5th, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is reminding you not to take any gambles with your safety.

Each year, RoSPA hears about people being injured by fireworks - about half of these injuries happen at family or private parties and about a quarter in the street or other public place. A much smaller proportion - around 10% - happen at large public displays.

Data collected across Britain in previous years shows that, on average, around 1,000 people visit A&E for treatment of a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night, with half of the injuries being suffered by under-18s. The minimum age for buying fireworks is 18 across the UK.

Amy McCabe, whose son Ben was injured at a street firework display, has called on the public to choose the safer option of attending an organised display. Ben was four years old when he was left with permanent scarring after he was hit by a firework at the display held in a residential cul-de-sac in Glasgow.

Amy said: "At our street display, all the instructions were followed and the crowd was kept well back from the display. Don't think that this sort of accident will never happen to you - fireworks are an explosive at the end of the day. Going to displays that are properly organised is the safest option.”

RoSPA's fireworks website - - has everything you need to know about planning a safe fireworks display. It provides details on UK law, tips for setting up a display and the Firework Code: 

  • Plan your fireworks display to make it safe and enjoyable
  • Keep fireworks 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.
Sheila Merrill, RoSPA's public health adviser, said: "The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at properly-organised displays, but RoSPA recognises that not everyone can attend such events. If you are planning to have fireworks at home, we urge people to brush up on the Firework Code to ensure their celebration goes off without incident. It is important to be prepared and to not leave safety until the last minute.

"Only buy fireworks from a reputable retailer and ensure the packaging carries the 'CE' mark or is marked with 'BS 7114'."

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