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Organising a firework display?
HSE has published guidance for organisers and operators of firework displays,
Together On Firework Displays: A guide to safety for firework display
organisers and operators, on the steps you need to take to make
sure your event is safe. These are some of the key points:
Before the event
- think about who will operate the display. Remember that certain
types of firework may only be used by professional firework display
operators. In untrained hands these fireworks can be lethal
- if the display is to be provided by a professional firework
display operator make sure that you are clear on who does what especially
in the event of an emergency
- consider whether the site is suitable and large enough for your
display, including a bonfire if you are having one. Is there space for
the fireworks to land well away from spectators? Remember to check in
daylight for overhead power lines and other obstructions. What is the
direction of the prevailing wind? What would happen if it changed?
- plan and mark out the areas for spectators, firing fireworks
(and a safety zone around it) as well as an area where the fireworks
- think about how people will get into and out of the site. Keep
pedestrian and vehicle routes apart if possible. Mark exit routes clearly
and ensure they are well lit. Ensure emergency vehicles can get access
to the site
- appoint enough stewards/marshalls. Make sure they understand
what they are to do on the night and what they should do in the event
of an emergency
- signpost the first aid facilities
- think about what you would do if things go wrong. Make sure
there is someone who will be responsible for calling the emergency services
- contact the emergency services and local authority. If your
site is near an airport you may need to contact them
- ensure you have a suitable place to store the fireworks. Your
firework supplier or local authority should be able to advise
- if you plan on selling alcohol the bar should be well away from
the display site
On the day of the event:
- Recheck the site, weather conditions and wind direction
- Don't let anyone into the zone where the fireworks will fall
and anyone other than the display operator or firing team into the firing
zone or the safety zone around it
- Discourage spectators from bringing drink onto the site
- Don't let spectators bring their own fireworks onto the site
- If you will also have a bonfire at the display then you should:
- check the structure is sound and does not have small children
or animals inside it before lighting it
- not use petrol or paraffin to light the fire
- have only one person responsible for lighting the fire. That person,
and any helpers, should wear suitable clothing eg a substantial
outer garment made of wool or other low-flamable material.
- make sure that the person lighting the fire and any helpers know
what to do in the event of a burn injury or clothing catching fire
- Never attempt to relight fireworks. Keep well clear of fireworks
that have failed to go off
The morning after:
- Carefully check and clear the site. Dispose of fireworks safely.
They should never be burnt in a confined space (eg a boiler)
Organising a Display at Home?
- Read the instructions on your fireworks in advance so you know
what you need to do.
- Locate any bonfire away from trees or other buildings such as
fences or garden sheds to avoid sparks setting them alight. Do not use
petrol or paraffin to light your bonfire.
- Have a bucket of water handy in case of an emergency. You can
also put any used sparklers in it.
- Have a torch so you can safely read the instructions on the
firework. Light fireworks at arm's length, using a taper.
- Follow the Firework Safety Code: this means that you should,
- only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
- don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
- keep fireworks in a closed box
- never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't
gone off, it could still explode.
- never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
- always supervise children around fireworks
- keep pets indoors
The morning after
- Carefully check and clear the garden of fireworks, including
any misfires i.e. those that should have gone off but didn't
- Dispose of fireworks safely
Source: HSE website 2004
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