Have fun but stay safe this bonfire night weekend

03 November 2011

A red firework exploding in the sky

BONFIRE night is always one of the busiest periods of the year for firefighters, who will be regularly called out to out of control bonfires and fires started by fireworks.

This is often made worse by some individuals taking advantage of the celebrations to deliberately start fires. This takes up the time of firefighters and is extremely dangerous - putting the lives of the arsonists and those nearby at risk.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking residents for their help to make sure that this bonfire night weekend the sound of sirens doesn¿t drown out the sound of fireworks.

Andy Tucker, Risk Manager for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We are urging people in Cambridgeshire to ensure these events remain fun for everyone involved and that people stay safe this year.

"Bonfires can very easily spread to nearby homes, outbuildings, trees and fences. Fireworks are extremely dangerous if not used correctly and can easily maim or kill the person using them, or those nearby.

"Unfortunately, at this time of year, there are some people who deliberately set off fireworks and start bonfire for malicious purposes. We would ask them to think carefully about the consequences of their actions. How would they feel if one of their friends were killed or seriously burnt?"

Below is some advice on how to stay safe while making sure your display goes off with a bang:


  • Don't light bonfires in unsuitable weather, particularly in windy conditions
  • Don't leave bonfires unattended. An adult should have the time to supervise it until all material is consumed
  • If the bonfire has to be left it should be dampened down with water. Keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe handy just in case
  • Build bonfires well clear of buildings, fences and hedge
  • Take note of the wind direction and ensure smoke from a building does not enter nearby homes or businesses
  • Never use flammable liquids to start the fire, and never burn dangerous rubbish such as aerosols, paint, foam furniture, rubber tyres, batteries, etc.
  • Before you light the bonfire, check that children and animals are not hiding inside and are a safe distance away.


Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service recommends going to an organised firework display instead of holding one at home. However, if you do intend to use fireworks at home, follow the FIREWORK CODE below:

  • Buy fireworks marked BS 7114
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Light them at arms length using a taper
  • Stand well back
  • Never go back to a lit firework
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Sparklers can reach a temperature of up to 2,000°C
  • Never give sparklers to children under five
  • It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18
  • It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

Other advice

  • If it is safe to do so, ensure that the fire is not a managed bonfire before dialling 999, particularly in the busy period before Bonfire Night. If you are in anyway unsure if the fire is genuine or not, always dial 999
  • If you own a business or residential property with automatic fire alarms, ensure that all windows are closed, otherwise smoke from a nearby bonfire could enter the building and set off the alarms system.