01 Nov 2021

Personal Injury

Keeping your family safe this Bonfire Night

Last year many families were left disappointed as fireworks displays were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Whilst life begins to return to some form of normality post lockdown, many large organised firework displays are also being cancelled for 2021, meaning there is likely to be large numbers of people hosting their own bonfire night celebrations as they look to spend time with family and friends.

Victoria Smithyman, Partner and of the Personal Injury team looks at ways to keep your family and guests safe this bonfire night.

With bonfire night fast approaching, thousands of families will be gearing up to enjoy some firework fun with their family and friends. However, no matter how exciting fireworks can be, there is also a serious side to consider. It is predicted that over 500 children and their families join the growing number of people injured as a result of fireworks between October and November each year. With the anticipated increase in home displays due to many organised displays being cancelled for the second year running, families are advised to exercise caution.

Firework accidents can result in extensive and life-changing trauma to the hands and face, with patients often requiring reconstructive surgery.

  • The vast majority of firework related injuries are to the eyes, heads or hands – this is particularly distressing as they may leave visible scars for life.
  • Most injuries happen at either private or family displays.
  • Over 550 children under 16 are taken to A&E in the four weeks surrounding bonfire night alone.

The best way to enjoy fireworks is at an organised display. Not only will the fireworks be bigger, but they are responsible for the safety of the event and you will part of the crowd. However, if like in 2020, your local firework displays aren’t taking place and you decide to host your own firework display, here’s how you and your guests can stay safe.

Fireworks and the Law:

Check your times

Fireworks cannot be let off between 11pm and 7am. The only exceptions to this law is Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight, and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when it’s 1am.

Buy from a Reputable Seller

You should only purchase fireworks from licenced sellers. Most retailers, including supermarkets can only sell fireworks during certain dates of the year. It is illegal for under-18’s to buy or carry fireworks

DO

  • Make sure you read the instructions on the packaging to find out important safety information, such as how far people need to stand back from the fireworks once lit.
  • Dispose of fireworks safely once they have been used.
  • Keep pets indoors. Fireworks can be particularly distressing for animals so keep them indoors.
  • Teach children about the dangers of bonfire night.
  • Remember that alcohol and fireworks don’t mix!

 

DON’T

  • Don’t let children help. Ensure that alongside other spectators, they enjoy the fireworks from a safe distance. Preferably they should watch from inside the house and away from any fireworks that may go astray.
  • Don’t rush. Plan your display and make sure you are comfortable and confident in handling the fireworks.
  • Don’t let off fireworks if you don’t have the appropriate amount of space in your garden to hold a display.
  • Don’t forget that bonfires are dangerous too. If you are lighting a bonfire, ensure ready access to water or a hosepipe and make sure that the fire is kept away from any buildings, sheds, fences or trees.

Bonfire night can be great fun for all the family, but it’s important to make sure that everyone celebrates safely.

 

Firework Injury Claims

If you or a member of your family has been injured as a result of either an organised or a private firework display and your injuries weren’t your fault, then you may be eligible to make a personal injury compensation claim.

Burns and scalds are the most common type of firework injury, but other injuries that you could make a claim for include;

  • Burn injuries.
  • Scarring.
  • Full or partial sight loss.
  • Hearing damage.
  • Psychological damage.

If you’ve suffered an accident or injury that wasn’t your fault, speak to our expert personal injury team who can help you find out if you’re eligible to make a claim. Get in touch today via phone (01633 244233) or send an email to hello@hevans.com.

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