Fire safety vital for bonfire night to go with a bang!

Why fire safety is key to making sure bonfire night goes with a bang!

With all the Trick-or-Treat sweets eaten, and Christmas shopping not yet on the horizon, there's only one way to spend this weekend - at a fireworks display!

Most local councils run large displays, however some people prefer to host parties of their own, turning their gardens into a firework extravaganza!

However, there are some important points to remember before you break out the sparklers.

Firework safety

There are a few safety rules which really will help make sure that your display goes with a bang!

  • Look down! Before it gets dark, make sure the site is clear of anything flammable (dry leaves or grass) – you don’t want an unexpected bonfire on your hands!
  • Look up! Check there’s no trees, power lines, or buildings that could be hit and potentially damaged by aerial fireworks.
  • Make sure your audience can stand far enough away – don’t forget what goes up has to come down… although it will have lost its spark, the debris from a firework will still cause a nasty burn if it hits a spectator
  • Prepare an Emergency Plan – Setting off fireworks isn’t an exact science, so make sure you have bucket of water or fire extinguisher on hand to deal with any that go astray!

Bonfire safety

A roaring bonfire is the perfect backdrop to a dramatic fireworks display, but there are a few rules to follow to make sure that an inferno in your back garden doesn't get out of control!

  • Don’t use petrol or anything flammable to get your fire going – it may be tempting, but it will cause it to flame out of control!
  • Think about what you are burning. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes it an offence to burn plastic, rubber or anything painted, and you cannot dispose of household waste by burning it. Dry wood is the best option for a bonfire.
  • Be aware of the wind direction – you can be fined if smoke from your bonfire drifts across a road and causes an obstruction to traffic, so consider the way the wind is blowing.
  • Before you light the bonfire, check carefully that no animals have made a nest inside – in the colder months many wild animals such as hedgehogs might consider well-stacked wood pile a perfect cosy home!
  • Make sure your bonfire is stable and that there is no chance that it will collapse when it is alight. Having a fire extinguisher or bucket of water on hand just in case of emergencies is a very good idea.

Although it may be brought more to our attention at this time of year, it isn’t just Bonfire Night when fire safety has to be considered. Rental legislation states that landlords have a duty of care towards their tenants with regards to fire safety regulations every day of the year, and it is important that these are adhered to.

A landlord has to make sure that a working fire alarm is supplied and fitted on each storey of the property, as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a useable fuel-burning appliance. These detectors must be tested regularly to ensure that they are in full working order.

If there is any furniture or furnishings in the property, the landlord must ensure that it is ‘fire-safe’. This can be determined by checking whether or not it displays the large, rectangular label reading ‘CARELESSNESS CAUSES FIRE’. This label cannot be removed.

In Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), landlords have a duty to provide fire extinguishers. It is advisable for the landlord to educate their tenants on how to use the equipment in the case of a fire, or at lease provide information on a procedure to follow in the event of a fire.

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