Celebrate Safely this New Year

fireworks

With 2020 and New Year’s celebrations fast approaching, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) would like to offer residents some safety advice to ensure that they can welcome in the New Year Safely.

New Year is a great chance to celebrate and spend time with loved ones, but it can pose risks. However, by taking care, the risk of an accident can be greatly reduced.

Group Manager Paul Jones said: “We want our residents to be able to have fun while celebrating this New Year. To ensure you don’t receive any unwanted firefighters on your doorstep, we’re urging you to take care, especially when using fireworks, bonfires, lanterns or candles, which carry a particular risk.”

When celebrating, you should be cautious when using:

Fireworks
  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark – this shows that the firework meets British or European safety standards (a reputable shop will know this).
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a suitable box.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit – even if it has gone off, it could still explode
  • Always supervise children around fireworks and never give sparklers to a child under five.
Bonfires
  • Build bonfires well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures.
  • Never burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode causing injury.
  • Don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going as it could quickly get out of control.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.
  • Never leave a bonfire unattended and keep children and pets away from it.
Lanterns and candles
  • Think carefully about the fire risks if making homemade lanterns. Place them securely in a purpose-built candle holder away from draughts. Flickering LED candles are safer than real candles.
  • Never allow small children to carry lanterns lit by naked flames. The handle could become hot or the child could slip.
  • Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other plastic containers.
  • Floating lanterns are a fire hazard but also pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, thatched properties and hazardous material sites.
  • Ensure that the candles are extinguished completely at night or before you go out.

Paul added: ”Although Christmas has now passed, many of our residents will still have their decorations up and Christmas lights on. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to be careful using electrical items such as Christmas lights. Always switch them off before you go to sleep, and make sure they’ve been bought from a reputable supplier and comply with electrical safety regulations.

“Additionally, make sure that you don’t overload plug sockets or extension leads as this could lead to a fire.”

For more information about celebrating safely, please visit our Celebrating Safely page.