Every year, stories in the news cover when something has gone wrong at bonfire night and people have been injured. There are health and safety steps that you can follow to ensure your bonfire night is as enjoyable but also as safe as possible for everyone.
Planning ahead when you are hosting a bonfire night is essential, knowing how many guests you are hosting for, how many fireworks you will have and who will be helping set your fireworks off are all factors that can ensure the upkeep of safety. Having a clear plan of who will do what and when will mean that your event will run smoothly and that everyone has a clear role. When you have a bonfire night, it is always a good idea to have someone helping who has previous experience with fireworks.
With 9,100 injuries in 2018, having an organised plan when it comes to bonfire night can significantly reduce the chance of any causalities. Contacting your local authorities, you should also make sure your fireworks will be stored securely, you and your team are trained on how to light fireworks and emergency drills whilst always ensuring you have plenty of fire extinguishers and buckets of water and sand available at the event.
Preparing necessary signs and making sure you have more than enough people to help on the night will ensure all visitors are catered for and know that they are not allowed to bring their own fireworks due to health and safety reasons. You must also check that you are appropriately covered by your insurance should any accidents happen whilst also warning neighbours so that they can prepare should they have pets that get scared.
When choosing the best site to have a bonfire, large, clear areas are great. Make sure they are far enough away from buildings, trees and overhead cables and that there is adequate room around the bonfire for the remains for the fireworks to land.
All entrances to your bonfire should always be well lit, free from obstructions and signposted so that visitors can easily enter and exit your bonfire. Keeping spectators back from the bonfire and fireworks will ensure none land on any guests, helping to avoid injuries.
Crowd control is a hugely important factor that needs to be considered at bonfire night, having a dedicated car park in a safe area means that visitors can easily get to your event whilst making sure their cars don’t get damaged from any falling fireworks. Hiring stewards are a great way to make sure all of your visitors know where to go, can maintain crowds and most importantly keep everyone as safe as possible - at least one steward is recommended for every 250 spectators.
When letting off fireworks you must take care at all times. One small mistake can cause great damage therefore, you should always unpack fireworks extremely carefully, prohibit any smoking near fireworks, never use matches or lighters when lighting fireworks at a display and get as much help as possible from people with experience.
Wind is also something that you should always have in the back of your mind when hosting a bonfire night. A sudden change of weather can make fireworks extremely dangerous as they are their safest when lit on a still night. If the weather takes a turn for the worst, you should consider canceling your event no matter how disappointing.
After the bonfire night there are few health and safety steps to cover. Once all of your visitors have safely left the venue, you must ensure the bonfire is completely out and that all used fireworks are gathered. You should never allow children to collect spent fireworks and if a firework has not gone off after at least half an hour, soak them in water and ask the Fire Service for advice on what to do next.
You can have a really enjoyable and accident free bonfire night by making sure you follow the correct health and safety procedures. Always put safety at the top of your list when dealing with fire and fireworks as they are so unpredictable, a fun event can change very quickly in a matter of minutes. Being organised and doing your research is key and if you follow the simple steps above, you should avoid any health and safety mishaps.
- Plan ahead
- Liaise with your local emergency services
- Have more than enough people on board to help
- Seek assistance from someone with firework experience
- Make sure visitors can safely enter and exit your event
- Clear up the area properly once all guests have left.