Warwickshire County Council (WCC) would like to remind the community that with COVID-19 restrictions in place, if residents are celebrating bonfire night, they must do so safely, not just to control the virus, but also in the handling of fireworks and bonfires.
This year has been particularly difficult for many people, and we understand the need to celebrate the usual Autumnal festivities. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, organised firework displays are not taking place this year and so more people may be having displays in their gardens. To keep everyone safe, residents must find ways to celebrate bonfire night that follows the firework code and still allows for social distancing.
The sights, sounds and smells of bonfire night make it one of the most exciting nights of the year, but also one of the busiest for our emergency services due to the amount of small fires and firework related incidents. Most of these incidents happen due to the misuse of fireworks, using old or illegal fireworks from unlicensed sellers or failure to observe the firework code:
- only buy fireworks that are CE marked and have instructions for use in English
- only adults should set fireworks off – only people aged 18 and over can legally buy fireworks
- follow the instructions on each firework
- always supervise children around fireworks and sparklers
- never go back to a lit firework
- don’t let off fireworks after 11pm (midnight on Bonfire Night)
Some fireworks on sale to the public are too powerful for the average sized garden and should only be used in large gardens or in fields. Trading Standards suggest that before you buy, take advice from the firework retailer about safe distances, instructions on how to use and the ideal firework size for your garden. Category F1 and F2 fireworks are ideal for garden displays, noise levels are lower for these products and they can be used in smaller gardens.
Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Community Safety, said:
“We don’t want people to miss out on bonfire night, but we also want to remind residents to be responsible and stay safe while celebrating. To stay safe, only buy fireworks which comply with the British Standard, keep them in a closed box and follow all instructions closely. Please don’t use fireworks that are too powerful for your garden, supervise pets and children and, if you are having a bonfire, build it clear of buildings, sheds, fences and trees.
‘Make sure you do follow our safety advice and have bonfire night go off with a bang… for all the right reasons.”
More guidance around fire safety and the firework code can be found on our website at http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/celebratesafely.
We all have a responsibility for reducing the spread of the virus, and we want to remind residents that if they are celebrating, they must also adhere to the current COVID-19 guidelines:
- Observe social distancing with people outside of your household
- Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser
- Only gather in groups of up to six
Dr Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council said:
“We appreciate that we are facing a particularly difficult time at the moment, with cases of COVID-19 rising across the county. We still want you to celebrate bonfire night, but we’re asking you to find new ways to mark it within the existing COVID guidelines to keep you, your family and friends safe.
‘Remember that you can still only gather in groups of up to six, if you are having people over to your home from different households, keep your distance, use separate glassware, crockery and cutlery and wash your hands regularly.
‘It’s important to be aware that if you’re doing something that increases your contacts, then you are increasing your risk to COVID-19. If we all do the right thing for Warwickshire and play our part, then we can still enjoy bonfire night with our loved ones, while keeping everyone safe.”
For the latest guidance on Coronavirus visit http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirus
To find out more about the firework code and the law around using fireworks visit https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/asb/asb/antisocial-behaviour/fireworks/