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Stay safe this Bonfire Night

15 October 2020

Residents across Norfolk are being reminded to take additional care this Bonfire Night and not to replace professionally organised displays with unsafe options in their back gardens.

With many organised events cancelled due to current restrictions on gatherings and events, Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service and Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards Team is urging people to stay safe this bonfire and fireworks season.

Fireworks go on sale from today (Thursday) and should only be bought from authorised sellers to ensure that they comply with safety standards and are only sold to adults. The use of fireworks can also be a nuisance to neighbours and cause distress for vulnerable people and for our pets.

Residents are also reminded that they need to stick to current Government guidance around the rule of six for any gatherings and not exceed that if planning to mark Bonfire Night at home.

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “We are currently amidst a global pandemic and we are asking people not to take risks which could put additional pressures on our emergency services in Norfolk.

“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.”

Please stay safe and follow 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

Injuries can be prevented by following the Firework code. If you do suffer a burn, ensure you:

  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag
  • Call 999 if necessary. Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned

Fireworks can frighten people and animals. The elderly and children are frequently scared and intimidated by firework noise. After all, fireworks are explosives. Tell your neighbours if you’re planning on letting off fireworks and avoid purchasing really noisy ones. Please be considerate when having fireworks and make sure the noise is over by 11pm.

You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except for:

  • Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: “We want to remind people 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 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get 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. We are supporting RSPCA’s Bang out of order campaign, encouraging the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.

Read more fire safety information.

Firework injuries in England and Wales from 2014-19

  • Total number of severe firework injuries - 1088
  • 623 people under the age of 20 received severe firework injuries - 57%
  • 38% (412) of severe firework injuries were in under 15s and 68% (281) of these injuries were sustained by males
  • 77% (316) of severe firework injuries in under 15s occurred around bonfire night between 2014-2019

Bonfire injuries in 2014-19 in England and Wales

  • Total number of severe bonfire injuries - 1695
  • 1256 people over the age of 20 received severe bonfire injuries – 74%
  • 15% of severe bonfire injuries were in under 15s

* Figures for bonfire/firework injuries from National Fire Chiefs Council and show only those injuries which required specialist treatment such as at burns units. Therefore, these are the most severe injuries but many more people attended Accident and Emergency Departments for burn injuries.

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