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Be safe on bonfire night

Date: 25/10/2011           Category: Trading standards

Fireworks may be fun to watch, but Medway Council’s Trading Standards team are focusing their efforts on ensuring they aren’t getting to the wrong hands.

Visits will be made to all shops with fireworks on display in the run up to bonfire night, to ensure none are being sold to anyone under the age of 18.

And while residents plan their festivities for 5 November they should remember that throwing fireworks in the street or a public space is a criminal offence. Anyone caught doing so could land themselves with a fine of up to £5,000, six months’ imprisonment or both.

Cllr. Mike O’Brien, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement, said: “Organised displays are the obviously the safest way to enjoy bonfire night – and this year Medway’s free event at the Great Lines in Gillingham falls on 5 November itself, so we urge everyone to go along. But if you are planning your own event at home, please take great care, think of your neighbours and always follow the firework code.”

Anyone planning a firework display of their own should always follow the Firework Code:

* Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
* Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
* Store fireworks in a closed metal box
* Keep a bucket of water nearby
* Follow instructions on each firework – by torchlight, never by flame
* Light fireworks at arm’s length with a taper
* Don’t go back to a firework that has failed to go off
* Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
* Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
* Never give sparklers to a child under five
* Keep pets indoors
* Don’t set off fireworks late at night

Care should also be taken with Chinese lanterns, which, if still burning on landing, can spark fires.

For more on firework safety visit www.medway.gov.uk/fireworks.

For full details of Medway’s free display in Gillingham visit www.whatsonmedway.co.uk