Merton Council safety advice for enjoyable and safe bonfires and fireworks

With the ever-popular Bonfire night fast approaching Merton council would like to lend advice to residents about fireworks to ensure individually organised celebrations can be enjoyed safely.

There are two main firework events being organised by the Council taking place at Wimbledon and Morden parks in the borough, but for residents wishing to enjoy their own displays here are some handy tips on handling fireworks properly.

·Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114
·Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
·Keep them in a closed box.
·Follow the instructions on each firework.
·Light them at arms length using a taper and stand well back.
·Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
·Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket.
·Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves and never give them to children under five.
·When a sparkler goes out, don’t touch it – it could still burn you so put it hot end down in a bucket of water.
·Keep your pets indoors.

To make firework night as safe and enjoyable as possible shops are banned from selling fireworks louder than 120 decibels. It is also now an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place and for anyone other than a fireworks professional to possess “category four” (the most powerful) fireworks.

If your main event is to have your own bonfire, you can keep yourself safer by following a few tips:

·Bonfires can get out of control if you are not careful. Don’t light them if it’s windy.
·Build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges.
·Never use flammable liquids to start the fire, and never burn dangerous rubbish like aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries.
·Keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe handy in case you need it.
·Before you light the bonfire check that there are no children or animals hiding inside and that they are a safe distance away.
·Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until everything has been burnt. If the bonfire has to be left, damp it down with water.
·If you’re having a firework display, light the bonfire afterwards so there’s no risk of sparks or heat from the fire setting off the fireworks. Never put fireworks on the fire.
·Under new legislation, all bonfire displays must now be over by midnight.

Councillor David Simpson, Cabinet member for for Partnership and Community Safety says:

“The safety of our residents is a top priority for Merto