Fire service issued warning to Tunbridge Wells residents over Bonfire Night
By kentsussex | Friday, October 26, 2012, 15:08
With bonfire night fast approaching, firefighters are urging people to keep safety in mind and not let an accident ruin the fun.
Bonfire Night (stock image by Flickr 24oranges.nl)
Over the past twelve months there has been a significant increase in the amount of bonfire related incidents across the county – almost 30 per cent more then the previous year.
The majority of these involve bonfires that have spread to nearby areas and becoming out of control.
When building a bonfire it is important to position it well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and overhanging branches.
Always keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby and never use accelerants such as paraffin or petrol to get the fire going.
Meanwhile, hosting a firework evening can provide great entertainment but it is essential that the right safety procedures are carried out and remember that fireworks can be dangerous if misused.
Incidents involving fireworks have fallen this year but crews are warning people not to become complacent. Fireworks are explosive and burn at very high temperatures, so always read the instructions carefully and keep them away from children and pets.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service's (KFRS) education team has been visiting schools across the county to help raise awareness of bonfire safety and pass on the message that fireworks can be extremely dangerous if not used correctly.
Stuart Skilton, Head of KFRS Community Safety, said: "The fifth of November is often a time of celebration but always keep in mind that fire can spread extremely quickly.
"If you do light a bonfire, ensure it is never left unattended and keep it at a manageable size. If the fire gets out of hand, it's far safer to call the emergency services rather then trying to tackle the blaze yourself.
"I would also encourage people to take extra care when handling fireworks and that children playing with sparklers are supervised at all times."
Take care with bonfires:
* A bonfire should be positioned well away from any buildings, sheds and overhanging branches.
* A bonfire should not be lit before any firework display unless the firework display is sufficiently far away to ensure stray sparks from the bonfire cannot fall into the firework area.
* A bonfire should not contain any potentially hazardous materials which may explode or give off toxic fumes, such as; aerosols, batteries, bottles, foam-filled furniture or tins of paint.
* A bonfire should be kept to a manageable size and evenly built so that is collapses inwards as it burns.
* Always check the bonfire's construction is still sound prior to lighting it, that there are no children or animals inside, and that hazardous items such as aerosols and fireworks have not been thrown onto it.
* The bonfire should not be lit by children or left unattended and nothing should be cooked on it.
* Flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel, methyalated spirits or white spirit should NEVER be poured onto the bonfire to light or revive it.
It's also worth remembering that there are more environmentally friendly ways of getting rid of garden waste without having a bonfire.
Most garden waste, such as grass cuttings and leaves, can be recycling by composting. Your local council may help you get a compost bin or offer a green waste collection service.
Always follow the Firework Code
* Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark
* Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
* Keep fireworks in a closed box.
* Follow the instructions on each firework.
* Light them at arm's length, using a taper.
* Stand well back.
* Never go near a firework that has not been lit - even if it doesn't go 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.
For more information please go to www.direct.gov.uk