Bonfire safety tips from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Hertfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has issued safety advice to residents to prevent bonfires and fireworks from going haywire this November.

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In October and November last year, crews attended 33 incidents related to bonfires or fireworks across the county, with one casualty hospitalised as a result.

The Fire and Rescue Service recommends leaving fireworks to the professionals by attending an organised display, but offers the following advice to anyone who is going to build a bonfire or create a display in their garden.

For bonfires:

* Check the bonfire before lighting to ensure no animals or small children are nearby

* Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies

* Don’t have a fire near fences, trees and buildings: as a rule of thumb, the bonfire should be a minimum of five times its height from property

* Don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going as it may get out of control quickly

* Don’t burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury

* Only burn dry material: damp material causes more smoke

* Don’t ever leave a fire unattended

* If a bonfire gets out of control, move a safe distance away and call the Fire and Rescue Service immediately by dialling 999. For fireworks, the Fire and Rescue Service recommends following the Firework Code safety rules:

* Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves

* Never give sparklers to a child under five

* Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or CE marked

* Keep fireworks in a closed box

* Follow the instructions on each firework

* Light them at arm’s length using a taper

* Stand well back

* Never go back to a lit firework

* Never put fireworks in your pocket

* Never throw fireworks

* Keep pets indoors

The council’s Trading Standards is monitoring all premises selling fireworks to ensure they are being stored safely, comply with safety standards and are not counterfeit. Trading Standards often uses underage volunteers to make test purchases of fireworks to establish compliance with strict trading laws.

Anyone who has information about shops selling fireworks, or any other age restrictive products, to children can report it by contacting Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.

Local companies that need advice should contact Hertfordshire Trading Standards’ business advice line on 01707 292429.

Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Bonfire Night can be great fun for all the family but we do want everyone to be safe. Please ensure that safety is your first priority, keep animals inside and supervise children and teenagers at all times.

“Remember to purchase fireworks from a reputable dealer to ensure they meet safety standards and don’t pose any risk to yourself or others.”

For fire safety advice, go to www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/firesafety