Fireworks are a traditional part of enjoying celebrations such as Bonfire Night or New Year but they are the cause of many hundreds of serious accidents every year - it should be remembered that they are dangerous explosives. The safest way to enjoy them is to go to a professionally organised event.
The Government's Fireworks Safety Campaign (DTI) provides downloadable guidance leaflets and materials for organisers of firework displays for the public, retailers selling fireworks, schools and the media, including the Firework Safety Code. Professionally organised displays are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who publish two booklets - 'Giving Your Own Firework Display' (ref: HS(G) 124) and 'Working Together' (Ref: HS(G) 123) aimed at organisers of events where a professional firework display company fires the display - available from HSE Books (Tel: 0114 289 2345).
For more advice about firework safety go to the following websites: Fire Service UK - Bonfire and Firework Safety Advice for organisers of Public Displays National Campaign for Firework Safety UK Firework Safety Pages Fire Kills - Safety tips for Celebrations Royal Society for the Prevention of Accident (ROSPA)
Remember that pets are frightened of fireworks - always keep them indoors. You can download a leaflet Fireworks and Pets in PDF format from the 'Blue Cross - All About Pets website'.
Retailers selling fireworks must be registered with Lancashire County Council, Trading Standards, 55 Guild Hall Street, Preston (0845 600 1352), who investigate problems with unsafe products.
Follow the Firework Code
If you buy fireworks, always make sure they comply with BS:7114 and are clearly marked for their intended use 'Indoor, Garden or Display'.
Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin.
Use them one at a time, replacing the lid immediately.
Never put fireworks in your pocket.
Rear the instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp, never use a naked flame.
Light fireworks at arms length using a taper or a firework lighter. Stand well back and never return to a firework after it has been lit; it could explode in your face.
Keep all pets and animals indoors. Take care of sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished. Despite annual safety warnings, Bonfire Night week still ends in disaster for far too many families. Fireworks can provide fun and entertainment, but only if everyone follows the right safety procedures and remembers that fireworks can be very dangerous if misused.