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As many of Berkshire’s residents prepare to celebrate Bonfire Night with family and friends, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) wants to share some important fire safety advice to help our WestBerkshireMums families celebrate safely and minimise the risk of harm.

Both children and adults are injured every year in accidents involving fireworks, and each year, over half of all firework injuries are suffered by children. Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries[i].

Children should be kept well away from naked flames. In particular they should not be allowed to carry lanterns lit with naked flames as the handle could become hot or the child could slip. Floating lanterns are a fire hazard but also pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, thatched properties and hazardous material sites.

If you are planning on having a firework display at home, please ensure you only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark – this shows that the firework meets British or European safety standards. Setting up a safe distance for a display is vital – each firework will have a minimum spectator distance, which will be either 5 metres or 8 metres depending on the type of classification[ii].

Fireworks and sparklers should be handled carefully: keep your fireworks in a suitable box and ensure children are supervised around fireworks. You should never give sparklers to children under five, and they should be lit one at a time, with gloves worn. Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.

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Please be mindful of your surroundings and consider your neighbours when planning a celebration. Never leave a bonfire unattended and keep children and pets away from it. Bonfires should be kept under control and built well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.

Matt Frayne, Station Commander at Newbury Fire Station said: “When celebrating this bonfire night please make sure you celebrate safely by following our advice. It is important you follow any instructions listed on fireworks packages.

“Every year we see too many people hurt by underestimating the risks. The danger is not just to yourself but to others around you – your family, friends and neighbours may be affected if you behave irresponsibly.”

Thank you to RBFRS for providing us with this information. We hope you all enjoy Bonfire Night and remember to stay safe! WestBerkshireMums.

[i] Safer Fireworks http://www.saferfireworks.com/family/index.htm

[ii] http://www.firework-review.org.uk/fireworks-safety/

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