01 November 2013

Northamptonshire County Council’s fire and rescue service is advising people how to stay safe this bonfire night and over the weekend.

The advice comes following the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) announcement that they intend to take further strike action as a result of the on-going national dispute with the government.

Strikes are announced for today, Friday 1 November 2013, between 18.30 and 23.00 hours and Monday 4 November, between 06.00 and 08.00 hours.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has contingency plans in place to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum. Planning has been underway for several months, both within the service and in partnership with neighbouring authorities, to ensure it can continue to respond to emergencies during this time.

How to stay safe

When organising a firework display or bonfire night party for family, friends or the general public, it’s vital to take the utmost care in firework storage, handling and use, as well as lighting and managing bonfires safely.

Baz Fox, Head of Community Prevention said: “Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. We want everyone to have a safe event, and by following some simple rules the risks can be greatly reduced.”

The Firework Code

  • Only buy fireworks marked as conforming to BS 7114.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on each firework. Read them by torchlight - NEVER a naked flame.
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick.
  • NEVER go back to a firework once lit – it may go off in your face.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy.
  • Used fireworks should be collected after the display with care. Douse them with water, then bury them or put them in a metal container.
  • Wear a protective hat, gloves and have eye protection, such as goggles.
  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Don’t let fireworks off after 11pm.


Sparklers are often viewed as a more harmless firework, but experts say that they can get six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil. They burn fiercely and are not suitable for children under the age of five.

If you buy sparklers, store them in a closed box in a cool, dry place. Sparklers are not suitable to take to public displays, as it’s often too crowded to use them safely.

To enjoy sparklers safely:

  • Always wear gloves.
  • Adults should light them for children.
  • Hold them at arm’s length.
  • Don’t wave them around.
  • Don’t run about whilst holding a sparkler.
  • Don’t hold a sparkler whilst carrying a child in your arms.
  • When it has gone out, put it in a bucket of water.


If you must light a bonfire in connection with a fireworks display, then:

  • Let your neighbours know about your bonfire beforehand, so they are aware.
  • Site it well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs, and before lighting the fire check that no pets or children are hiding inside it.
  • Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.
  • Only burn dry material. Damp wood will produce more smoke.
  • NEVER use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire.
  • Don’t burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, and tins of paint.
  • Don’t throw fireworks onto the bonfire.
    Don’t leave the bonfire unattended.
  • Keep everyone away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised all the time.
  • For an emergency keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.
  • Pour water on the embers before leaving.