Remember, remember to stay safe in November
Bonfire night is just around the corner and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) are working with Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards to help keep people safe.
To make sure that everyone has a fun and safe bonfire night this year GFRS is encouraging people to attend one of the county's many organised events.
Licensed events are the safest way to view fireworks because they have experts who plan and design an exciting and safe display.
However, if you are hosting your own bonfire night party, the service has prepared some tips to make sure you stay safe:
· Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
· Make sure your fireworks comply to the British Standard (BS7114 or are CE marked)
· Only allow adults to handle fireworks
· Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
· Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
· Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
· Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
· Never return to a firework once it has been lit
· Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
· Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
· Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
· Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving
· Keep children under supervision when using sparklers
· Prepare a bucket of sand to dispose of used sparklers
Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards is responsible for licensing all keepers of fireworks including retailers and display operators.
As part of this process, officers carry out visits every year to make sure that these licenced businesses are storing fireworks safely and not overstocking. As well as carrying out these visits, Trading Standards also monitor social media channels to look for unlicensed people selling fireworks from their home.
Officers have visited homes with Police assistance where fireworks are being stored and sold by unlicensed sellers. They have also seized fireworks and taken formal action against retailers who were storing them dangerously.
It is illegal to sell fireworks to persons apparently under the age of 18 and the maximum penalty for selling fireworks to them is an unlimited fine or 6 months imprisonment.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: "Bonfire night can be great fun for all the family but it is important that you celebrate safely.
"We want everyone to take great care this bonfire night. If you're looking for an easy bonfire night celebration, it is safer to attend an organised event. It's probably going to be cheaper and much more impressive as well.
"Whatever you decide, be sure to have fun and stay safe."
Andy Hermiston, head of Trading Standards and deputy chief fire officer for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Every year far too many people, particularly youngsters, are badly injured or burnt when lighting bonfires or setting off fireworks. I would urge everyone to be responsible and safe around fireworks and follow the safety tips provided by the fire and rescue service.
"We've been working closely with licensed businesses in the county to make sure that they are storing fireworks safely and not overstocking
"If you sell fireworks you must comply with the law. It is an offence to sell from a market stall or from the back of a van and if you see this happening please report it to Trading Standards via the Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506."