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Remember, remember the 5th of November – but most of all be safe



It’s the annual bonfire, fireworks, baked potato and sticky treacle fest, a bonfireworkpotatotreaclefest (neologism of the day). This is the 410th anniversary of the gunpowder plot of 1605. Roughly 20 million people will attend firework displays. And around £40m will be spent. It’s great fun, not entirely ‘green’, but every year many people and animals suffer.

We’ve written about Bonfire night on a couple of occasions, which we link to here.

– Top tips to make your Bonfire night an environmentally-friendly celebration

– Gunpowder, treason and carbon emissions

But while we’re all putting waterproofs, scarves and mittens on our excited little ones, the overstretched NHS will be gearing up for those who are harmed (shocking image advisory!). Here are some facts from the NHS about fireworks and potential risks of not using them properly:

– Fireworks are not toys. They are explosives and the injuries they can cause can be devastating.

– Sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil.

– A rocket can reach speeds of 150mph.

– A firework shell can reach as high as 200m.

– Three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blowtorch.

– You see the explosion of a firework before hearing it because sound travels at 761mph, but light travels at 671 million mph.

– The majority of firework-related injuries happen at family or private parties.

– Around half of all injuries are to children under the age of 17.

– The most common injuries are to hands, followed by the eyes and face.

– Fireworks are safer now than they have been in the past, thanks to safety standards. Make sure your fireworks comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent. Instructions should be in English.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has some useful advice here.

And some great information from Blue Cross about fireworks and animals can be found here.

And don’t forget to check you bonfire for wildlife before you light it. Always best to build this perfect habitat for birds, hedgehogs, etc. just before the event.


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