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'Think twice about having your own firework display' warns fire brigade

Fire crews are urging families not to hold their own bonfire night celebrations over safety fears as most organised events are cancelled due to Covid restrictions.
Fire services have issued words of advice on keeping safe this bonfire night (Picture: Cambs fire and rescue)

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Services fear the number of home bonfire and firework celebrationsplanned this year could pose a significant safety risk and are gearing up for a busy night on November 5.

They have been working with local authority partners and emergency services to help keep people safe and are also urging everyone to show respect this bonfire night.

Head of Community Fire Safety, Group Commander Per Middleton, said: “Bonfire night is historically a very popular fixture in the calendar where people come together to enjoy firework displays, however this year is very different. With the Covid-19 pandemic still with us, the organised displays we would usually enjoy cannot take place and we are concerned that some people may look to hold their own displays. 

“While most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, they can quickly become a disaster and, in the wrong hands, they can cause injury and damage to property. Fireworks are explosives and should be treated with respect. Only use fireworks in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the firework safety code, ensuring all necessary safety precautions are taken. 

“We would strongly discourage people from lighting bonfires in back gardens as they present significant risks to residents if they get out of hand. Not only this, but the smoke can also aggravate coronavirus symptoms for those that might be shielding or isolating.” 

He added: “We would encourage residents across the county to think twice before having their own displays and lighting bonfires in their gardens this year. Not only do these present risks for residents and our crews, but with the pandemic still with us we all have a responsibility to ensure we don't put unnecessary strain on emergency services. Please show respect this Bonfire Night and think twice about having your own display.” 

Group Commander Middleton added: “Although bonfire night might look a little different this year, there are still ways families can enjoy it safely. There are lots of family friendly activities people can do at home, such as watching a virtual display, or doing some crafts together to mark the occasion, without putting their loved ones at risk. 

“It’s also really important that residents remember the government's Rule of Six to help control the spread of Covid-19.” 

If you intend on buying fireworks for a home display, please follow the firework safety code: 
• Only buy fireworks marked with a CE mark 
• Don't drink alcohol if you're setting off fireworks 
• Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them 
• Light them at arms length using a taper and stand well back 
• Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn't gone off, it could still explode 
• Never throw fireworks, and never put them in your pocket 
• Respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws in place you must follow 
• Take care with sparklers – never give them to children under five. Even when they've gone out they're still hot, so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use 
• Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening.