If you’re putting on a firework display in your back garden, then it’s about staying safe as much as putting on a show.
Check out our top tips so you’re ready this bonfire night…
Pick ‘n’ mix
There are a huge variety of bangers and rockets to choose from, but make sure you buy what’s sensible for your garden. Ensure you have enough space for a display, and have even more available space if you decide to build a bonfire.
Remember, each firework has it’s own set of hazards and therefore different instructions. Make sure you read the guidelines carefully. If a firework doesn’t go off, don’t be tempted to go and check what went wrong, as they could still explode.
And always check before buying that fireworks show the British Standard Kitemark BS7114, and only ever buy them in full packs rather than individually or in packs where some have been taken out.
It might sound obvious but make sure your fireworks are kept away from kids and animals, and stored in a cool, dry place. Don’t keep them in the hallway, porch or under the stairs.
And please don’t put any fireworks in your pocket.
While rain isn’t a deal breaker, wind can be. You’ve got to seriously consider the strength of the wind and its direction
Rain on fireworks night isn’t ideal, but it’s not the end of the world.
You can waterproof fireworks with bin bags or cling film. As long as you keep the fuse dry, you’ll be fine. In fact, it’s a good idea to waterproof your fireworks even if rain isn’t forecast, because dew can settle once it gets dark and dampen the fuse.
While rain isn’t a deal breaker, wind can be. You’ve got to seriously consider the strength of the wind and its direction.
If the wind is blowing in the direction of the spectators, then I’m afraid you’ve got a serious problem. The 25m safety distance is instantly useless even in light winds – don’t risk fireworks debris getting swept towards your friends and family.
You can tackle wind by moving your fireworks display further away, or by relocating the spectators to a safer spot. You have to look at the forecast, assess the situation, and take all the safety measures necessary.
Protect your pets
Animals are a lot more sensitive to big flashes and loud bangs than us humans. Have a plan of action to keep your pets as comfortable and calm as possible.
If you want any more info on how to keep your pets happy this bonfire night, check out our handy tips.
It’s better to have 10 great fireworks that make people go ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhhh’, instead of 20 that leave everybody underwhelmed
Quality not quantity
This is a tough one. On the one hand you want enough fireworks so people don’t get bored, but you also want big bangs instead of limp fizzes.
In our opinion, quality trumps quantity. It’s better to have 10 great fireworks that make people go ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhhh’, instead of 20 that leave everybody underwhelmed.
Keep it snappy
It’s good to drag your fireworks display out for as long as possible, right? Wrong.
Chances are you’ve got bored kids in your midst. Chances are it’s going to be pretty chilly. And chances are your neighbours will start to get a bit peeved if your fireworks display goes on all night.
Why take half an hour to stretch out a display, when you can make more of an impact in 10 minutes?
Light one at a time
Make sure it’s only you (or another adult) that lets off the fireworks. Only light one at a time at arms length, and with a firework lighter or fuse wick.
If one of your fireworks doesn’t go off, don’t go back to it. At the end of your display you can go back and cover this ‘dud’ with loads of water. Then, completely bury it in the ground and cover it with soil.
Keep kids close
Kids can be curious creatures. Make sure you keep a very careful watch over them throughout the entire display.
Never let kids light fireworks, and supervise them if you bring out sparklers. Always keep a bucket of water close for used sparklers, and for an emergency in case anything else goes wrong.
Be clothes conscious
It’s not just kid’s dressing up clothes that can be a fire hazard. Scarves, loose shell suits and long coats can also put people in unnecessary danger around candles and bonfires.
Although it’s unlikely that someone will catch alight; it’s always good to remember:
STOP don’t run
DROP to the ground, and
ROLL to put out the flame
Check your cover limits
No matter how safe you make your back garden, accidents can happen.
Check your home insurance policy documents carefully before lighting up any fireworks, and see what level of protection you have if your property, or its contents, are damaged by fire, explosion or smoke.
Remember, most insurance policies will typically have a “duty of care” clause, so in the event of a claim you may need to prove you took proper precautions. For example, that you set off the fireworks as far away as possible from your property.
And there you have it; the best ways to stay safe and put on a good fireworks display in your back garden.