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A conventional public firework display on November 5th

Firework Safety

!!!! IMPORTANT
CE Marked Cat 2 & Cat 3 Fireworks

The minimum safety distance of a CE marked Cat 2 firework is 8 meters. Under the old British Safety Standard it was 5 meters.

The British Safety standard looked at the performance of the firework, the New CE standard concentrates on the overall amount of pyro in the firework.

This has allowed much bigger effects and fireworks into the Cat 2 range.... so

  • If you are using the new Cat 2 fireworks at or close to the minimum distances please please use some sort of shield between the firework and the people watching, (a wheelie bin would do.)
  • If the firework does not shoot straight up the shield will prevent it from traveling in the direction of your Children watching!

We want people to be able to safely enjoy fireworks for many more years to come, the new CE Cat 2 system has not helped us to do this.

Having fireworks at home can be great fun, as long as they are used safely. Figures show more children rather than adults get hurt by fireworks. Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries.

Retail fireworks are arranged in two categories:

  • Category 2 which have a minimum safety distance to the spectators of 5m
  • Category 3 which have a minimum safety distance to the spectators of 25m.

All fireworks must have this information clearly labelled on them so you can check which distance it is safe to watch from. If it does not have this information on it, do not buy it!!

All fireworks sold by Dragon Fireworks clearly state the minimum safety distances required.

Most of all the major injuries to the Display Operators, using retail fireworks, are eye injuries. For this reason, Dragon Fireworks sell, at discounted rates, the same eye protection that our Display crew use.

For the person setting up the fireworks and firing the display, it can help to know what can go wrong.

There are three main causes of accidents with retail fireworks:

  1. Fallen Over Fireworks
    The firework has managed to fall over and is now firing towards the house or spectators. For example, if you are firing a rocket from a bottle, the rocket is lit and as the rocket starts to ignite, the bottle falls over. The rocket goes flying towards the house and through the living room window to ignite your net curtains.

    You must ensure that a firework cannot fall over. We use a wooden stake hammered into the ground until firm and then use good quality gaffa tape to secure Rocket launch tube or the firework to the stake. Fix the firework so that the stake is at the front of the firework so if it does manage to detach from the stake, it still cannot easily fall toward the spectators.

  2. Fireworks Too Close to Spectators
    You are holding a fireworks party, and have asked guests to bring a firework. Your garden is 20m long and 10m wide with a big tree at the end. So to avoid hitting the tree you have to move the fireworks 5m in from the end of the garden. Now these fireworks are 15 meters from the spectators and the majority of the fireworks you have been given are Category 3 fireworks (25m minimum safety distance). If one of these fireworks does not operate correctly, you will not have the correct safety distance, to protect your spectators. 25m is the minimum safety distance, we would suggest 40m if possible, (remember the children are often watching at the front).

    You must ensure you use the right fireworks for the distance you have available. If you are on the 25m limit, will there be any room for the guests? If not, use Category 2 fireworks instead. There are plenty of rockets, fountains and super mine effects to choose. Please remember to tell your guests in advance which category of firework are suitable for you garden.

  3. The Weather
    The wind in the wrong direction can blow firework debris towards spectators. For example, the distance is correct, the fireworks are securely fixed and are firing straight up, the finale firework is well underway but the wind is blowing toward the spectators, so all the debris is raining down on to the spectators and although it will mostly be cold, this will probably start a stampede for the safety of your house, (not the required effect for your display!!).

    You must keep an eye on the wind direction and speed. If the wind speed is too strong or in the wrong direction, cancel your display. This may be hard at the time, but your safety and that of your guests is paramount, (remember the children are often watching at the front).

    This link will give you all the important firework safety data: www.fireworksafety.co.uk

    We are always available to help you with safety or general Firework information, please contact us first.


Be safe not sorry

All fireworks can be dangerous but they are safe if you use them properly. If you're putting on a display at home, you should follow some simple steps to make sure that everyone has a good time without getting hurt.

Always read the label and follow the instructions on each individual firework.

Dragon Fireworks can accept no responsibility for loss or injury due to the misuse or abuse of fireworks.

Keep kids safe

We want children to enjoy fireworks but they need to know that fireworks can be dangerous if they are not used properly. Each year, over half of all firework injuries are suffered by children. The Child Accident Prevention Trust have more guidance on keeping kids safe.

Sparkler safety

Every year there are hundreds of horrific, needless burn injuries to the hands and fingers of young children due to the unsupervised use of the humble sparkler.

  • sparklers are one of the few fireworks designed to be held in the hand but it is still essential to take a few simple safety precautions.

  • sparklers are not to be used by children under 5 years of age

  • sparklers are only safe for children older than 5 years when used under the close supervision of a responsible adult

  • be aware that sparklers burn with intense heat (five times hotter than cooking oil) and stay very hot for a long time after they have gone out, so always wear fire resistant gloves (thick cotton, wool or leather types are suitable).

  • Dragon Fireworks advise that you keep a bucket of water at hand at all times to cool spent sparklers quickly and safely.

Where to buy

Don't cut corners just to save a few quid. Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop to make sure that they conform to British Standards. This means that they should have BS 7114 written on the box.

Sometimes shops open up for a short time before Bonfire Night but these may not be the best places to buy fireworks from. Staff in these shops might not be very knowledgeable about using fireworks safely and their fireworks might not meet British Standards.

Whatever you do, don't buy fireworks from anywhere you're not sure about, such as the back of a van or from a temporary, unlicensed market stall.

What to buy

There are different categories of fireworks. Members of the public can buy and set off most of the fireworks that come under Categories 1 to 3. These are fireworks that include those that you can use indoors, in your garden or at a display. Always read the packet carefully and make sure that the fireworks you buy are suitable for the place where you are going to set them off.

Professional fireworks

Some fireworks can only be bought and used by firework professionals. These include: air bombs; aerial shells, aerial maroons, shells-in-mortar and maroons-in-mortar; all bangers; mini rockets; fireworks with erratic flight; some Category 2 and 3 fireworks which exceed certain size limits; and all Category 4 fireworks.

Setting them off

Only one person should be in charge of fireworks. If that's you, then make sure you take all the necessary precautions. Read the instructions in daylight and don't drink any alcohol until they've all been discharged. Make your preparations in advance, and in daylight. On the night, you will need ...

  • a torch
  • a bucket or two of water
  • eye protection and gloves
  • a bucket of soft earth to put fireworks in
  • suitable supports and launchers if you're setting off catherine wheels or rockets.

Information for Display Organisers

If you are organising a firework display for the general public, read our leaflet on how to organise safe and successful firework displays.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Firework Safety Warning

You should be aware that the CAA has guidelines for organisers of major events using fireworks near airports. The guidelines are available from the CAA website

Protect Your Animals

You should take precautions to protect your pets during the times of the year when fireworks are likely to be set off.

Although fireworks are fun for us, they are not fun for animals. Most animals get very scared by the lights and noise, so you should take precautions to protect your pets during the times of the year when fireworks are likely to be set off.

The animal charity Blue Cross> says that the best thing you can do is to keep your pets indoors. This includes bringing in pets that are normally kept outside, such as rabbits or guinea pigs.

Close all of your windows and doors and try to drown out the noise as much as possible. And make sure that cats and dogs have name tags on them in case the noise scares them and they run off.

Blue Cross has a leaflet> with more detailed advice on keeping your animals safe from fireworks.


Penalties

Under section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. The penalty on conviction is a fine of up to £5,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both. Enforcement of this section of the Act rests with Trading Standards, the Police or the RSPCA as appropriate.

Firework curfew

Recent changes to the law mean that fireworks can't be set off between 11pm and 7am (apart from on 5 November, New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali, when the curfew is later). Hopefully, this curfew will keep to a minimum the times when animals and people are disturbed by fireworks.

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