Ahh Bonfire Night – yes it’s that time of year when the evenings are darker, the air is a little crispier and the countdown to Christmas is officially insight. It’s the perfect time to meet with family and friends before the Christmas rush begins and enjoy the festivities that surround the age-old tradition that is Guy Fawkes Night.
Whilst many will be out and about visiting a local fireworks display on the 5th November, there are a fair few of us who’ll be taking this opportunity to invite people into our homes and gardens to put on our very own Bonfire Night fireworks display.
And how exciting that is! Putting on your own fireworks display, firing up the BBQ and enjoying a glass or two of mulled wine is a lot of fun for everyone. But any home-hosted Bonfire Night comes with responsibility. And, if you’re the one hosting, you’ve got to make sure that your garden is ready for the evening. Fireworks, bonfires and even sparklers can be very dangerous if you neglect even the most basic of safety guidelines, so it’s essential to do your research and be prepared.
Of course for any home fireworks display, you need fireworks. It’s pretty exciting going out and buying your show-stopping collection that will wow your friends, family and neighbours. But before you do, let’s bring you up to speed on what is and what isn’t suitable for a home fireworks display.
The first thing you need to look for is the stamp of approval. You should only buy fireworks that are marked with British Standard number BS 7114 and have a CE mark. The next thing to look for is the category. All BS 7114 approved fireworks will fall into 1 of 3 categories:
Category 1 – indoor fireworks – minimal hazard
Category 2 – AKA garden fireworks – require 8 – 15 metres distance
Category 3 – AKA display fireworks – require a minimum of 25 metres distance
There is a 4th category – known as industrial fireworks. Unless you are a licensed professional, you should by no means purchase this category of fireworks. Not only is it illegal, but this category of fireworks are extremely dangerous to those who are not professionally trained or equipped to even handle them.
So the takeaway here – check how much garden space you have available to determine which category of fireworks is suitable for your home display. Seek out and buy products from reputable suppliers that have the labels of approval. Don’t forget you’ve got to be 18 to purchase fireworks and any fireworks you do purchase become your responsibility as soon as you’ve bought them.
So voila, you’ve bought your firework ready for your garden display, but where is best to store fireworks?
Fireworks should ideally be stored in a metal, lockable box, within their packaging, well away from any naked flames or heat sources. It’s also important to store fireworks in a cool, dry place, where there are no significant changes in temperature. A dry shed or garage is ideal, as long as there is no damp. It’s certainly not advisable to store fireworks in your house and for obvious reasons, it’s essential that fireworks remain out of reach from children at all times.
One of the first things you should do is plan out where you intend to set your fireworks off from, and how you’re going to create the safe distance required between the fireworks and your spectators.
You’ll also want to avoid igniting fireworks too close to your home, garden buildings such as summer houses, sheds and garages, as well as pergolas and trellis. Be aware of surrounding fences as well as neighbouring gardens.
You’ll need to ensure that you have buckets for water and sand at the ready as well as all of the necessary PPE such as gloves, safety glasses and long sleeve clothing.
You may also need some excess timber for mounting fireworks to create suitable supports or for creating a boundary area that is clearly marked out to your spectators. Don’t forget, it will also be dark, so grab yourself a reliable, fully charged torch so that you have a clear vision at all times.
There can be some devastating consequences of not handling fireworks correctly. You should always read the manufactures label and instructions before igniting fireworks and familiarise yourself with the safest practices when using fireworks. Some of which include:
Websites such as https://www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/fireworks-safety and https://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/firework-safety/ also offer some really helpful information and guidelines about firework safety.
We all know that fireworks can cause disruption and upset to other people and animals. That’s why here in the UK, there are restrictions as to when you’re allowed to set fireworks off.
It’s illegal to set a firework off between 11 pm and 7 am, except for on Bonfire Night, where fireworks can be let off until midnight and Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year when fireworks can be let off until 1 am.
Be considerate of others living locally and always give your neighbours some advanced notice before you plan on setting fireworks off in your garden.
You can also purchase silent, or quieter fireworks that give off the same visual effect, but are less disruptive audibly.
Who doesn’t love a sparkler? Even as adults, sparklers are good fun and often for many, bring back fun memories of Bonfire Night from childhood. But sparklers are in fact one of the biggest causes of accidents and injuries on Guy Fawkes Night and therefore should always be approached on the side of caution.
Sparkers actually burn to a temperature of 1000-1600 degrees centigrade, so really there is no room for messing around when handing these mini fireworks.
If you do decide that you’d like to get a pack of sparklers, here are some important safety tips to keep in mind and be prepared for before you light up.
1. As with anything, you should always follow the manufacturer guidelines.
2. Keep sparklers at arm’s length
3. Always wear gloves when handling lit sparklers
4. Keep a bucket of sand or cold water close by to put the sparkler in once you have finished with them
5. Do not light sparklers on wooden or decked surfaces
6. Ensure that you have enough space around you so that other people and surrounding objects such as garden furniture, fencing or plants do not get burnt
7. Never light a sparkler indoors
8. Do not give sparklers to under 5’s
9. Always ensure that sparklers are stored out of reach of children
10. Give sparklers a miss if it’s a windy night
Are you planning on lighting a bonfire in your garden? Whether you’ve replaced decking, installed a new fence, non treated wooden garden waste can be burnt on a bonfire. However, there are many risks to consider when igniting a bonfire in your garden. Here are a few tips;
Bonfires create a lot of smoke and ash, which may aggravate your neighbours. It’s advised that you communicate with your neighbours and inform them of when you intend to alight your bonfire.
Avoid making it a regular habit as this can cause a nuisance. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local councils can take action against those whose bonfires cause a nuisance to neighbours or restrict vision on nearby roads. This may include a fine that enters into the thousands of pounds.
It’s actually against the law to burn some types of waste, so be sure to check what you can and can’t burn before putting anything on the bonfire. You must also avoid burning anything that creates dark, thick smoke, as this could be a nuisance to nearby residents and commuters.
Here are some examples:
You can burn:
You shouldn’t burn:
It’s always worth checking in with your local council’s website for their advice, regulations and best practices for home bonfires.
It’s essential that you keep your bonfire well away from fences, sheds and of course your home. Ensure that it is a safe distance away from your spectators and always supervise children when a bonfire is alight.
As you move around the bonfire, keep a safe distance yourself. Tie back any long hair and avoid wearing loose clothing that could catch on fire.
You should always keep a few buckets of water and/or a hose at the ready. Never leave a bonfire unattended, and at the end of the evening, use water to put the fire out, rather than letting it burn out.
Is your garden in need of a little spruce up before inviting family, friends and neighbours round for your Bonfire Night fireworks display?
Here at Equestrian Fencing, we sell a wide range of materials, ideal for gardening and landscaping projects. Whether you need to repair or replace a fence or upgrade your decking to create the perfect spot for spectators, choose from our range of high-quality, reasonably-priced materials.