What’s not to love about Bonfire Night? It’s the perfect antidote to the dreary winter weather, offering an evening of fireworks and festivities. However, amongst all the fun, it’s easy to forget that there are a number of potential hazards that could quickly turn this evening of celebration into a nightmare.
Bonfire Night is traditionally one of the busiest evenings for the fire service, with more callouts expected than at any other time of year. But what are the Bonfire Night hazards that you need to be aware of? And how can you make your celebrations safer? The team at TVF (UK) Limited is here with this comprehensive guide to everything you need to know.
If your wood is damp and you’re having difficulty lighting your bonfire, you may be tempted to use accelerants, such as oil, petrol or methylated spirits, to speed up the process. Whilst many people may assume this is harmless in small quantities, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Accelerants cause your fire to burn aggressively and unpredictably, leading to sudden flare-ups that can quickly get out of hand. Instead, use firelighters — they are far more effective yet much less dangerous.
If you’re put off by the thought of a busy public fireworks event, you may be tempted to put on your own display. However, this comes with additional hazards. Whereas professional fireworks displays are conducted by trained experts, an amateur will lack this level of experience and expertise, meaning that the risk of injuries and accidents increases significantly.
It’s vital to ensure that your fireworks are sourced from reliable suppliers and carry the UKCA mark; this signifies that the product complies with all UK regulations. It’s also essential that you don’t attempt to modify your fireworks in any way; not only is this incredibly dangerous, but it’s also classed as a criminal offence under the Explosives Act 1875.
Whilst Bonfire Night has a party atmosphere, it’s best to avoid having one too many drinks — especially if you’ll be close to open flames or involved in setting off fireworks. Alcohol can impair your judgment and reduce your ability to react quickly to potentially dangerous situations, so be sure to celebrate responsibly.
Sparklers offer a real touch of magic to any outdoor gathering. Although they seem like a harmless bit of fun, it’s estimated that sparklers can reach temperatures up to 20 times hotter than boiling water. Make sure to always handle with care, maintain a safe distance from others, wear protective gloves and supervise children. You should also have a bucket of sand or water in the immediate vicinity, just in case anything goes wrong.
With its close proximity to Halloween, many people often view Bonfire Night as another chance to show off their spooky costumes. However, the often flammable nature of these costumes can make being around open flames hazardous; according to recent statistics from the Children’s Burn Trust, over 550 children are typically taken to A & E in the four weeks surrounding Bonfire Night alone.
You should always check the label to make sure the materials of your costume are fire-resistant and compliant with all UK safety standards. It’s also essential to ensure all children at your Bonfire Night event are supervised at all times and kept well away from any naked flames.
How can I make my bonfire night safer?
If your business is looking to host its own Bonfire Night celebrations, there are several simple steps you can take to make things safer. Firstly, be sure to consult a trusted fire safety expert, like TVF (UK) Limited, for advice on how to make your event as safe as can be. A fire risk assessment can identify any potential hazards on your premises and recommend the necessary preventative measures.
It’s important to have the correct fire safety equipment in close proximity, such as fire extinguishers and fire blankets. A fire extinguisher can stop a blaze in its tracks and prevent small accidental fires from burning out of control.
It’s also a good idea to have a trained fire warden present; in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, they can enact fire safety protocols and use their training to keep all attendees safe.
If you’d like to host a Bonfire Night celebration for your business in Brighton, Eastbourne, Crawley or beyond, contact TVF (UK) Limited to find out how we can help you to reduce risk on this special occasion.