Fire service issue firework safety advice ahead of bonfire night

PUBLISHED: 15:43 26 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:53 10 June 2010

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging people who organise their own fireworks parties to be extra careful this year - particularly have-a-go parents who are keen to put on a good show for their family and friends.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging people who organise their own fireworks parties to be extra careful this year - particularly 'have-a-go' parents who are keen to put on a good show for their family and friends.

The emergency services attend a number of incidents involving the misuse of fireworks every year.

One incident that the fire service attended last year, involved a thatch roofed property being completely destroyed by fire caused by a firework.

Aside from the high risk group of have-a-go parents, the other greatest-risk age group is five-17 year olds.

Every year people are seriously injured or killed by fireworks because they haven't taken simple precautions to ensure their safety.

Little known facts about fireworks:

* Fireworks and sparklers reach temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Celsius - that's 20 times the boiling point of water.

* Sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil.

* A rocket can reach 150 miles an hour.

* A firework shell can go as high as 200 metres.

* Three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blow-torch.

Station Manager Bill Harvison from the service's fire investigation team said: "While most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery.

"Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and the Firework Code.

"Laws against fireworks misuse are there to protect communities. Misuse offences relate to throwing, possession and controlling the time of their use. Other laws regulate the supply and sales of fireworks."

If you are caught with fireworks and you are under the age of 18 you can be fined up to £5000 and/or be given a prison sentence. However even if you are over 18 the same punishments apply if you set fireworks off after 11pm and if you possess fireworks which are only for professional use.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said: "This is always a busy time for all the emergency services. We would rather people enjoyed a safe night out but anyone thinking of using fireworks in and anti-social or dangerous manner should be aware that there are a number of offences relating to the use of fireworks and that they risk fixed fines or even prosecution."

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service advise those who are intending to put on a fireworks display to:

* Only buy fireworks that are marked BS7114 - it means they conform to British safety Standards.

* Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.

* Keep fireworks in a closed box.

* Follow the instructions on each firework and be sure they are suitable for home use.

* Light at arm's length, using a taper.

* Stand well back.

* Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off, it could still explode.

* Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.

* Always supervise children around fireworks.

* Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.

* Never give sparklers to a child under five.

* Keep pets indoors.

A comprehensive list of firework safety and guidance can be found at www.dsfire.gov.uk

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