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Stay Safe On Bonfire Night

Staying Safe on Bonfire Night

Staying Safe on Bonfire Night

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 may have failed but we still remember those events of hundreds of years ago every November 5th. The plot was to overthrow the government and the Protestant king, the failure of which King James I felt should be celebrated with bonfires all across the country. But he added an important caveat – bonfires were to be done without danger and disorder.

We always advise that you attend a public Bonfire Night event. These organised events are risk assessed and safe, with both event security and first aid on site should anything happen. Most organised events are free, with donations to the organisers, usually the local fire service. The fireworks display are also spectacular as they created by pyrotechnic experts.


  • Fireworks can only be sold to over-18s and can only be bought at certain times of year for private use – 15th October to 10 November, 26 to 31st December and the three days around Diwali and Chinese New Year.
  • There are different categories to fireworks so check how and where they should be used.
  • Your local authority may also have by-laws in place relating to the use of fireworks and bonfires – check their website for more details.


In the wrong hands or used by someone with little or no experience, fireworks are incredibly dangerous. Even in trained hands, fireworks can still react in ways that were not expected.

Here’s how to be safe around fireworks;

  • Plan it – a planned display is safer than just lining up fireworks and lighting the fuse
  • Storage – keep fireworks and sparklers away from children and stored in a closed box
  • Using them – light them at arm’s length and step back. If a firework doesn’t go off, leave it until you are sure it is extinguished and safe to approach
  • Precautions – keep a bucket of water or sand close by, as well as a hosepipe in case of fire


Many pet owners dread the run-up to firework and bonfire night because they spend their evenings soothing their distressed dog or cat.

  • Create a den – creating a safe space where they can huddle helps many dogs and cats. Make it big enough so you can get in too
  • Walk during the day – so you are not caught out by fireworks going off in the evening
  • See your vet – it may be possible to have medication for your dog or cat. There are drug-free measures such as a Thunder Shirt
  • Be patient – some dogs pace, other whine, others huddle in the smallest, darkest corner they can find. Be patient, let them do what they want. NEVER leave them alone on Bonfire night
  • Check garden gates and fences – suddenly startled, a dog can bolt leaving you with hours of worry as you look for them. Make sure gates and fences are as secure as possible

No matter how big or small your bonfire, there are many things you need to bear in mind in terms of safety;

  • Before you light the bonfire, check for hedgehogs and other wildlife you may find sheltering
  • Don’t have a bonfire in a small space or close to major roads
  • Tell your neighbours you are planning on a bonfire
  • Check local authority by-laws as you may find ‘private’ bonfires are not allowed
  • Keep a hose pipe and buckets of water close by in case the bonfire gets out of hand, or trees or shrubs are ignited
  • Damp the bonfire down and NEVER leave a lit or smouldering bonfire unattended
  • Be considerate of your neighbours, community and wildlife when lighting a bonfire or fireworks

Planning a community bonfire and firework event? Our SIA licensed event security staff are perfect for helping everyone stay safe and many hold advanced first aid qualifications too, essential for securing insurance for your event. We have security staff across the UK – get in touch to find out more.


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