Fire Service plea for a safe and Covid-free Bonfire Night

Swanage residents are being urged to account for COVID-19 restrictions and the new lockdown rules when celebrating Guy Fawkes night – as well as taking the usual measures to make sure their fireworks displays are safe.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking everyone to be sensible with their Bonfire Night events to reduce the risk of fire and burns on Thursday 5th November 2020, which coincides with the start of lockdown in England for four weeks.

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Stay at home and enjoy the festivities

Also in the midst of the pandemic, emergency service officers also insist that people consider the coronavirus spread as they stay at home and enjoy the festivities.

While no public fireworks will take place in Purbeck, any private displays must comply with the government regulations to mitigate the transmission of the virus.

From this Thursday there must be no mixing of households unless it is part of a support bubble, so any celebrations must be within a household group and be at home.

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The 5th of November will be no exception to this rule

People are required to follow these regulations both for their own safety and the safety of others.

The services also stressed that with the sharp increase in the number of Covid cases in Dorset, people should avoid taking any risks that would put any more pressure on the emergency responders.

Superintendent Heather Dixey from Dorset Police said:

“We know that fireworks can be great fun, but please remember that you must be over 18 to purchase fireworks and that it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks – including sparklers – in the street or other public places.

“You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally, and there’s also an on-the-spot fine of £90.”

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Other safety precautions

In addition to coronavirus restrictions, the emergency services are also reminding people to take the usual fire safety measures into account.

These include:

  • Carefully planning a fireworks display and ensuring it is over by 11 pm
  • Only purchasing fireworks with the CE mark, storing them in a closed box only using one at a time
  • Carefully reading the instructions on fireworks, with a torch if needed
  • Keeping your distance from fireworks, including lighting them at arm’s length
  • Keeping naked flames and cigarettes away from fireworks
  • Staying well away from any fireworks that have been lit
  • Never putting fireworks in pockets of throwing them
  • Pointing rockets away from people
  • Not using paraffin or petrol on fireworks
  • Ensuring that all fires are out before leaving

Ian Hopkins, Prevention Delivery Manager at Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“We are asking everyone to show respect this Bonfire Night, to their neighbours, to the emergency services, and to the real dangers that fireworks and bonfires can pose.

“Everything is very different this year, we know families will want to have some fun, so we all need to think twice about what we’re doing, take extra care and follow all the advice about how to stay safe.”

People are also asked to be considerate with their displays, as they can frighten elderly people, children and animals.

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