Celebrate Safely this Halloween, Bonfire Night and Diwali

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is asking residents to stay safe when planning their Halloween, Bonfire Night and Diwali celebrations this year. 

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David Grayson, Watch Based Station Manager, said: “Whilst we want our residents to enjoy their celebrations, we are asking that they take some additional precautions to ensure that their celebrations remain safe.

“If you are purchasing a costume for Halloween, ensure that it is labelled as flame-resistant. If you are making one, do not use flammable materials. Whatever costume you do choose, keep it away from naked flames at all times.

“Fireworks in the wrong hands can cause real misery. Please only buy them from licensed manufacturers and remember, fireworks are explosives. Handle fireworks extremely carefully and only use them in accordance with the instructions and the Firework Code. Also, be respectful if you are using fireworks, they can be frightening for people and animals. Tell your neighbours if you are planning to let them off and ensure your display is over by the cut off time.”

Superintendent Bhupinder Rai, Head of Local Policing for Berkshire, said: “Everyone should remember that fireworks can be very dangerous when they are not used responsibly.

“Legal restrictions prevent anyone from under the age of 18 to purchase them or to possess them in a public place. The consequences of misusing fireworks, or of accidents occurring involving them, can be very serious and even tragic.

“If you choose to have fireworks at home, please make sure that children cannot access them. We would also encourage everyone to remind children of the danger these items can pose when not used appropriately.”

For more on how to stay safe whilst celebrating, take a look at our advice below:

Halloween Costumes and Decorations:

  • Make sure that when purchasing or using costumes and masks that they are labelled as flame-resistant.
  • Don’t use flammable materials to make homemade costumes.
  • Keep children away from naked flames at all times.
  • If your clothing does catch fire, remember to stop, drop and roll to smother the flames.
  • Decorations can burn easily – do not attach them to lights or heaters.

Fireworks:

  • Always follow the Firework Code.
  • Make sure you only buy fireworks from licensed in-store and online retailers.
  • Adhere to the fireworks curfew - the firework curfew is midnight on Bonfire Night and 1am on Diwali.
  • Follow the instructions - before setting off fireworks, read all the safety instructions carefully. Once any debris has cooled down, tidy it up and soak it in water overnight before putting it in a rubbish bag and the bin.  
  • Understand what fireworks you can use at home - Category F1, F2 and F3 fireworks are on sale to the public. A consumer firework will fall into either category F2 or F3 depending on how much of a safety distance it requires. Check you have enough space to safely use a firework before you buy it. Category information can be found on the label.
  • Be considerate to animals when letting off fireworks - if you plan to let off any fireworks, let your neighbours know in advance so they can care for pets.

Bonfires:

We are asking residents to consider if they need to have a bonfire. Bonfires can easily become out of control and cause problems for individuals with respiratory problems and put additional pressure on emergency services. If you are having a bonfire, please stay safe by following this advice:

  • 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.

Burns:

We hope residents take the correct precautions around flames, fireworks and bonfires. If someone does get burnt, follow the cool, call and cover advice:

  • Cool – cool the burn with running cool tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound).
  • Call – call for help – 999, 111 or local GP for advice.
  • Cover - cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth and make sure the patient is kept warm.

Additionally, people may decide to let off sky lanterns to mark these occasions, but please reconsider this because of the fire hazard and risk they pose to property, crops, livestock and the environment.

Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do if a fire should occur and practice your escape route. Fit smoke alarms and test them regularly - a working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time to get out, stay out and call 999. If there is an accident, always remember to get out, stay out and call 999.

For more information on celebrating safely this Halloween, Bonfire Night and Diwali, visit our Celebrating Safely page.