Show Respect This Bonfire Night

Published: 16 October 2020

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is joining forces with local authority partners and emergency services to help keep people safe this bonfire and fireworks season.

With many organised events cancelled across the county, emergency services are preparing for a busier night than usual.  There is an emerging concern that more people will plan displays and bonfires to celebrate in their own gardens, which could pose significant risk for those who choose to use them.

We are asking everyone to show respect this Bonfire Night.

Head of Community Fire Safety, Group Commander Per Middleton, said: “Bonfire Night is historically a very popular fixture in the calendar where people come together to enjoy firework displays, however this year is very different. With the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, the organised displays we would usually enjoy cannot take place and we are concerned that some people may look to hold their own displays.

“While most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, they can quickly become a disaster and, in the wrong hands, they can cause injury and damage to property.  Fireworks are explosives and should be treated with respect.  Only use fireworks in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the firework safety code, ensuring all necessary safety precautions are taken.

“We would strongly discourage people from lighting bonfires in back gardens as they present significant risks to residents if they get out of hand.  Not only this, but the smoke can also aggravate coronavirus symptoms for those that might be shielding or isolating.”

“We would encourage residents across the county to think twice before having their own displays and lighting bonfires in their gardens this year.  Not only do these present risks for residents and our crews, but with the pandemic still with us we all have a responsibility to ensure we don't put unnecessary strain on emergency services.  Please show respect this Bonfire Night and think twice about having your own display.”

Group Commander Middleton added: “Although bonfire night might look a little different this year, there are still ways families can enjoy it safely.  There are lots of family friendly activities people can do at home, such as watching a virtual display, or doing some crafts together to mark the occasion, without putting their loved ones at risk.

“It’s also really important that residents remember the government's rule of six to help control the spread of COVID-19.”

If you intend on buying fireworks for a home display, please follow the firework safety code:
  • Only buy fireworks marked with a CE mark
  • Don't drink alcohol if you're setting off fireworks
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them
  • Light them at arms length using a taper and stand well back
  • Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn't gone off, it could still explode
  • Never throw fireworks, and never put them in your pocket
  • Respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws in place you must follow
  • Take care with sparklers – never give them to children under five. Even when they've gone out they're still hot, so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use
  • Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening.
Fireworks can also cause a great deal of distress to animals.  In a recent survey, 62 per cent of dog owners reported their pets showing signs of distress during fireworks season, with 54 per cent of cat owners experiencing the same.  Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the National Fire Chiefs Council are supporting the RSPCA’s Bang Out Of Order campaign, encouraging the responsible use of fireworks and the adoption of tighter regulations concerning their use.

For more information about firework safety, please visit our Community Safety section.