Enjoying fireworks celebrations safely

Hounslow Council urges residents to stay safe when enjoying fireworks ahead of Diwali and Bonfire Night celebrations

Published: Friday, 29th October 2021

Fireworks display

Hounslow Council is asking residents to follow a few simple tips to make sure this year’s Diwali (4 November) and Bonfire Night (5 November) festivities are safe and enjoyable for everyone, crime, and injury free. This year will see the return of public displays that were cancelled previously due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Council is urging residents to take extra precautions to enjoy fireworks safely, while being thoughtful of neighbours.

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency said:

“Bonfire night and Diwali are important festivals in the calendar across the borough. We know that after lockdown restrictions prevented our communities from gathering and celebrating with loved one’s last year, we are all keen to make this year’s extra special.

“It is important that we enjoy them safely. Fireworks pose serious risks if bought from disreputable sources and handled incorrectly. Public fireworks displays are the safest way to enjoy the spectacle, while also supporting the local economy.

“For those celebrating at home, we urge residents to take extreme caution and advise strictly following instructions when handling, lighting and watching fireworks.

“It’s also key to remember that not everyone in the community is a fireworks fan, so please do consider your neighbours’ well-being and make sure pets are in a safe place while it is happening. When purchasing fireworks please consider selecting quieter fireworks to minimise disruptions to neighbours. 

“The Council hopes that everyone in Hounslow has a wonderful time while being safe and respectful to others.”

Currently there are no restrictions on the sale of fireworks other than prohibiting the sale of them to anyone under 18 years old. This means that people are permitted to purchase and use fireworks in residential areas. Throwing or setting off fireworks in the street is regarded by the police as a serious offence, and if you witness this taking place residents are advised to call 101 to report the incident.

The use of fireworks is prohibited between the hours of 11.00pm until 7.00am, except for a few days each year, including Diwali, where fireworks are permitted to be used until 1.00am and Bonfire night (5 November) where they are permitted to be used until midnight. These restrictions are enforced by the Metropolitan Police Service. The Council takes action against noise nuisance; however, a one-off fireworks event would not be considered to be causing a nuisance.

London Fire Brigade Station Commander Thomas Ronan said: “This is always a very busy time of year for the Brigade and whilst we know that family and friends who weren’t able to be together at home last year will be looking forward to celebrating, we’re asking people to consider alternative ways to celebrate rather than hosting fireworks displays at home.

“Find an organised fireworks display near you instead. They’re controlled and much safer, and it will also be more considerate for your neighbours and any pets. If you can’t attend an organised event, why not get creative with firework alternatives like glow sticks and garden lights.

“If you do choose to use fireworks ensure you have enough space to use fireworks, carefully read the instructions and stay safe.

“Take care when buying fireworks, buy them from a reputable, licensed seller and always look for a CE mark to make sure they’re safe to use. Never drink alcohol and set off fireworks and don’t throw fireworks or return to a firework once it has been lit. It’s also important to also be careful with sparklers, particularly with children, as they can stay hot enough to cause serious burns even after they burn out.”

Top tips for staying safe with fireworks:

  • Only buy fireworks from established premises or licensed UK online suppliers. Ensure all fireworks purchased carry a CE certification mark. This shows that fireworks comply to stringent safety measures. Instructions must be in English.
  • Each firework will have instructions on how to safely use it, it’s vital to follow them. Each will advise a safe distance to stand back, which gives an indication of how dangerous the firework is. If a firework doesn’t go off as planned don’t go back. Wait until the next morning, and then put it in a bucket of water for 24 hours.
  • Take precautions at all times including having clear path to move away to a safe distance after lighting the fuse, wearing protective gloves and goggles and keeping children out of the way.
  • Keep pets inside. Animals can be distressed by the loud noises and bright flashes of light on. It’s best to keep them indoors during this period. If a pet is particularly upset with fireworks, then speak to a vet to see if there’s anything that can be done to alleviate the stress.
  • The best tip for staying safe and enjoying fireworks is attending an organised display where spectators are kept at a safe distance while qualified individuals do the work. They ae also much more exciting to watch.
  • If you or a family member do need medical advice, you can get expert help from the NHS.uk website, or the NHS 111 phone and online service. In the case of serious injuries, always dial 999.

For advice on how to remain Covid safe when celebrating with friends and family watch the important message from our Director of Public Health, Kelly O’Neill here.

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