Do something different this Bonfire Night, and protect our emergency services
02 November 2020
Fire, police and public health leaders in the south west, along with local councils, are urging the public to stay safe this Bonfire Night by ‘doing something different’ to celebrate.
The emergency services see an increase in calls around bonfire night, and services are already stretched by the effects of Covid-19.
Not only are bonfires and fireworks dangerous, they can cause a nuisance for neighbours and animals. Smoke coming in through windows can cause issues for people with breathing problems, and fireworks are stressful for people and animals.
Darren Peters, Area Manager at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service says: “We want you to make it a bonfire night to remember for the right reasons, not because you end up needing the emergency services.
“We’d prefer you to avoid home bonfires and fireworks as they can cause incidents and injury which can put pressure on our emergency services.”
South west leaders have compiled a list of ways to ‘do something different’ to celebrate bonfire night this year.
• Stargazing – the natural alternative to fireworks – just find a dark spot in the south west – either from your home or in the country - and enjoy the night sky. There are many smartphone apps that help you to identify the constellations and help make it even more fun.
• Get creative in the kitchen – food is part of the bonfire fun, so why not make hotdogs, soup and hot chocolates, and embrace the bonfire fun in a different way.
• Firework painting – there are loads of ideas to make firework paintings online – some black paper or card and some bright paints are all you need to get started. Add straws or cut toilet roll shapes and you’re away. The kids will have a great time making vivid firework pictures.
• Watch firework videos – there’s no easier way to stay warm, dry and safe this bonfire night than to tune in to livestreamed firework displays on YouTube. The displays will be more spectacular than your own would have been, they won’t frighten pets, farm animals or children, and you can pause or rewind your favourite bits.
Area Manager Darren Peters added: “If you insist on doing something at home, keep fires and fireworks small. Fires and fireworks are unpredictable.
“If using sparklers, stick them into a vegetable, such as a carrot or parsnip, so you protect your hands. Keep a bucket of water nearby so you can put your spent sparklers in there.”
Our advice is to:
• Store fireworks safely
• Keep fires and fireworks well away from anything that could burn, such as sheds, fences and your home.
• Keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby
• Never leave anything unattended.
A spokesperson from Devon and Cornwall police says: “We understand that people want to celebrate Bonfire Night and feel a sense of normality. We urge people to think about alternative ways to celebrate safely, only when it comes to bonfires and fireworks, but also around the risk of Covid19.
“The law is clear about the numbers of people who can meet and the appropriate social distancing measures. Any gatherings of too many people could see police attend to engage and encourage people to move on, with enforcement as a final resort. If you are heading to a display, it’s important that you check whether it’s Covid secure and has a pre-paid ticket system. Avoid going to any display without a pre-paid ticket.”
Anyone planning to have fireworks or bonfires at home should read the full safety guidance.