NFCC and BBA urge families to think twice about home firework displays


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The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has teamed up with the British Burn Association (BBA) to warn families of the dangers of holding firework displays at home this Bonfire Night.

With the pandemic and government restrictions on social gatherings dampening the flames of many organised Bonfire Night displays, Chair of NFCC’s Prevention Committee Neil Odin and Chair of the BBA Yvonne Wilson have shared their concerns around home displays, which could see a rise in the number of incidents and accidents and place pressure on the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services and the NHS.

Between 2014 –19 there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales, with 38% of these in youngsters under 15 years of age and the majority (67%) were sustained by males.

Speaking about this year’s Guy Fawkes celebrations, NFCC’s Neil Odin, said:

“Bonfire Night and the days surrounding it are notoriously busy for Fire and Rescue Services. Normally we advise people to attend a professionally organised display because we know they are safer with very few significant injuries occurring and appropriate first aid is always available on site.

“This year, however, as we all know, is very different. The pandemic means more families may try to hold displays at home perhaps without the experience of having handled fireworks before.

“We ask people to think twice about whether they need to have a display at home and instead look to other ways of celebrating Bonfire Night with their immediate families. If they choose to celebrate with fireworks at home, we ask them to plan very carefully and ensure they buy suitable, legal fireworks and they have sufficient space to hold a display to make their celebration as safe as possible.

BBA Chair Yvonne Wilson who is also a Consultant Surgeon in Burns and Plastic Surgery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, added:

“Nationally, every year around this time we see an increase in the number of burns accidents as a result of fireworks that require ongoing medical treatment. The anticipated increase in home displays may also lead to an increase in these types of injuries which can be devastating for families, so we urge caution.”

The NFCC advises that in order to hold a firework display, the space required depends on the type of firework and must be checked. The information for each firework will be printed on the side of the product so should be checked before purchase. In general, the distance required will range from five metres to 25 metres, this is equivalent to half the length of a fire engine to two and half times the length of a fire engine. So, spectators should be at least this distance away from the firework when it is set off. Therefore, the size of the garden will need to be greater than the distance shown on the firework.

If families do have the space in their garden, they must ensure that fireworks are bought from a licensed supplier or authorised retailer who can also provide appropriate advice. Fireworks must not be bought or used by anyone under the age of 18 and fireworks must have the CE safety mark printed on them.

Recently introduced government legislation gives police the powers to fine people who break the latest measures. Government restrictions on social gatherings - both nationally and locally - aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ease pressures on the NHS.

For information on first aid for minor burns, please visit:


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