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A 10-Point Checklist for Bonfire Health & Safety

Bonfires are a traditional and very effective way of getting rid of old junk from your house and garden that has no real use. And they can also be a lot of fun! But safety always has to be a priority whenever you have a bonfire, so follow this 10-point checklist to make sure you and everyone else stays safe.

1. Check Inside the Bonfire Before Lighting

If you have built a huge bonfire, always check inside before lighting it. A large stack of wood and branches can be the perfect hiding place for children who may not realise what it is. A quick check before lighting the fire will reassure you that there is no one hiding inside.

Bonfire Night by Mr Empey, on Flickr

2. Don’t Use Fuel

Don’t use fuel to get your fire going. Countless accidents are caused every year by people pouring petrol onto their bonfires, either before lighting them or while they are lit, and the results can be catastrophic.

3. Will It Disrupt Traffic?

If you are holding your bonfire during the day, you should be careful of the amount of smoke that it is likely to cause. Try to have the fire as far away from any roads as possible because the smoke can cause a serious hazard to drivers. Also, try to cut down on the amount of smoke produced by avoiding burning green branches and leaves.

4. Check for Dangerous Objects

Some everyday household objects can be very dangerous if they end up in a fire. Aerosol cans contain compressed air and can explode. Also try to ensure that there are no plastic objects, batteries, paint tins and tyres on the bonfire, as these can release harmful toxins. If you need to throw out such items, hire a junk collection service like Any Junk to pick them up for you so they can be disposed of safely before your bonfire.

5. Control Children

Children love bonfires, but adult supervision is essential at all times. The children may want to run through the smoke, which can lead to them breathing in harmful fumes, or they may get too close to the fire without the correct supervision. Always ensure that at least one adult is on hand.

6. Keep a Water Source Nearby

Even when you are being very careful, accidents can still occur. It is therefore a good idea to have a bucket of water nearby to immediately quench any flames if an accident occurs. Even better, have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket on hand as well.

7. Hold Your Bonfire in a Clear Space

Bonfires can cause damage to buildings as well as overhead cables and branches. Always ensure that your bonfire is held in an open space where it will not pose a danger to any trees or buildings.

8. Keep Fireworks At a Distance

If your bonfire is part of a fireworks display, make sure that you cordon off an area for the fireworks and ensure that no one gets too close. Fireworks can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, especially where children are concerned, so make sure responsible adults are in charge of all of the fireworks.

9. Have an Emergency Protocol in Place

If your bonfire is a large event with lots of people attending, make sure that you have a safety protocol in place and assign tasks to all of the planners. You should have someone on hand who knows first aid, and everyone should know their role in the event of an emergency. Also, make sure you cordon off the bonfire to keep spectators at a safe distance.

10. Put Out the Fire Safely

When the bonfire is dying down, always ensure that a responsible adult stays with the fire until everyone has left. Even better, douse it out with cold water. Never let children play alone around the fire after the flames have died down as the embers can still be dangerous. Also, if you let off any fireworks, never throw used cases onto the fire as some of them may still be live. Instead, place all used fireworks in a bucket of water.

Enjoy Your Bonfire Safely

Whether you are having a bonfire in your garden, or you are holding a large event, make sure that you follow these basic safety tips. Bonfires can be great fun, but they can also prove to be dangerous if the correct safety advice is not followed, so keep all of the above tips in mind and enjoy your bonfire.

The fire service have an extensive guide to bonfire safety on their website at which you should also review.


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