Fire chief issues bonfire night advice

PUBLISHED: 10:41 03 November 2008 | UPDATED: 07:06 30 May 2010

FIRE services are preparing themselves for one of the busiest nights of the year by encouraging people to stay safe. Essex fire and rescue s chief officer, David Johnson, has urged anyone attending or hosting a fireworks party to take some simple precauti

FIRE services are preparing themselves for one of the busiest nights of the year by encouraging people to stay safe.

Essex fire and rescue's chief officer, David Johnson, has urged anyone attending or hosting a fireworks party to take some simple precautions to keep everybody safe this Guy Fawkes night.

Between 2000 and 2005 there were 6673 people injured by fireworks in Essex alone, with the highest number of those injuries occurring at private parties.

Mr Johnson said: "Firstly take some care setting up for your display and make sure that you have equipped yourselves with a couple of buckets of water, a bucket of soft earth to put spent fireworks in, a torch to read instructions by and a slow burning firework lighter to light the touch papers with.

"It's important to take great care when making and lighting a bonfire, they can easily spread out of control and have the potential to cause great harm to those near them unless they are properly built and properly looked after.

"Never use petrol or any kind of accelerant to light or fuel a fire, and always ensure that the fire is a safe distance from your home or anything else it could set light to, for example sheds or fences.

"Garden fires should only be made up of garden refuse and no one should burn anything other than natural garden products. Plastic and rubber burn in an unpredictable way and create extremely noxious fumes and are not suitable for residential areas.

"Make sure that all fireworks have passed the British Safety Standards and are set off a safe distance from all spectators, buildings, sheds and fences. People should only light one firework at a time and remember do not return to a firework that hasn't gone off because it could yet go up.

"It is also important to stay safe with sparklers, they should never be given to a child under five years old, must always be held at arms length and in a gloved hand. Once they have gone out put sparklers in bucket of water or sand. Sparklers burn five times hotter than cooking oil and must be treated with care.

"Make sure all animals are kept indoors and that young children are under constant adult supervision.

"If you follow these simple rules then you can have a safe and enjoyable November 5 without having to call us in to get you out of trouble.

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