Show respect this Bonfire Night
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) are joining forces with their local partners to help keep people safe this bonfire and fireworks season. With many organised events cancelled, emergency services are preparing for a busier night than usual as people celebrate in their own gardens. We are asking everyone to show RESPECT this Bonfire Night.
CDDFRS have joined up with Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and Durham Constabulary to ensure members of public are aware of the dangers of bonfires and fireworks. Whilst most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery.
Remember that fireworks are explosives, they can cause serious injury and even death if they are not treated responsibly. A good start to a home display is to ensure all fireworks meet BS 7114 standards and are only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code.
Please stay safe and follow the Firework Code:-
• Only buy fireworks over the counter from licensed and reputable retailers.
• Only adults should handle and light fireworks, (avoid drinking alcohol until after the fireworks are done).
• Keep fireworks in a closed metal box.
• Follow the instructions on each firework carefully.
• Light them at arm’s length using a suitable taper.
• Always stand well back. 8 meters as a minimum.
• Never go back to a lit firework – if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode.
• Never put fireworks in your pocket.
• Never throw fireworks.
Lee Aspery, Arson Reduction and Young People Manager at CDDFRS said: “This year we appreciate Bonfire night is likely to be different for everyone. With the majority of organised displays cancelled, we understand that some members of the public are likely to have a home display.
If you are planning to use fireworks at home, then please follow the firework code. If you have children and are planning on using sparklers, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Please keep your four-legged friends indoors and make them comfortable with curtains closed and music on low to reduce the effects of noise outside.
We would strongly advise against having your own bonfire. Home bonfires often cause nuisance for your neighbours but are also extremely dangerous. They can spread to buildings, fences, outhouses and cause injury to people.”
As the country are currently amidst a global pandemic it is important that people do not take risks, putting additional pressures on our emergency services. If people are to have home displays, they need to ensure they are following the Covid-19 guidance and restrictions in place for their area.
In County Durham, the local restrictions currently in place prevent different households mixing in homes, gardens and indoor public spaces. These rules may have changed by Bonfire Night, but it is important people check to see exactly what restrictions are in force if they are invited to a party in someone’s garden.
Joanne Waller, head of community protection at Durham County Council, said: “Fireworks are classed as explosive; therefore, it is incredibly important to buy, sell and use them responsibly.
“Never buy bargain fireworks from the internet as their source and safety is unknown and may put you and your family at risk. Instead, always buy from legitimate, licensed sellers and never let children handle fireworks. You should also be considerate of others and observe curfews and restrictions; and keep your pets safe and secure when fireworks are going off. We would strong advise residents to pay particular attention to the clearance distance for the fireworks.
“This year, the coronavirus pandemic means there are additional safety precautions to consider and so I urge you to check the restrictions in your area to avoid breaking the law.”
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “We know that there are some people out there who will try and exploit the current situation by selling illegal fireworks, usually at what seems to be a bargain price.
“The reality is that illegal fireworks are highly dangerous because no one knows what will happen once they are lit. They may explode immediately, possibly in the face of the person lighting them, and it is a risk that is just not worth taking. If you must buy fireworks do it from a reputable supplier and if a cheap deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“If you spot someone selling what you believe to be illegal fireworks; out of the back of a van, on facebook, twitter and other social media, then you should report it to trading standards via the council’s website or you could call Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. If you don’t report it then we don’t know about it and we can’t do anything about it!”
A Durham Constabulary spokesman said: “If you do decide to set off your own fireworks this year, please remember it is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to buy fireworks. You must also not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.
“Avoid drinking when in charge of fireworks, and in case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, a garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.
“Make sure you store the fireworks safely in a closed box and only set them off one at a time. Please also remember to keep pets inside and ensure you do not set fireworks off between 11pm and 7am, except on Bonfire Night when the cut off is midnight.”
Lee Aspery from CDDFRS added: “We would like to ask everyone to be good neighbours and show respect, following this important advice and remembering the Firework Code, we hope that everyone can enjoy a safe bonfire night this year and every year.”
• More fire safety information and advice in relation to bonfire night is available of CDDFRS website: www.ddfire.gov.uk
• Advice for businesses on the sale and storage of fireworks is available at www.durham.gov.uk/underagesales and www.durham.gov.uk/article/3944/Fireworks-and-the-law
• Suspect an illegal bonfire?
• The latest Covid-19 guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-east-of-england-local-restrictions