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Held annually on November 5th, Guy Fawkes Night is one of the most awaited holidays of the year. Commonly known as Bonfire Night or as Fireworks Night, it is a holiday which is celebrated in Britain and in several countries that were once part of the British Empire. It commemorates the foiled Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which a group of Catholics failed to assassinate the Protestant King James I. They wanted to replace him with a Catholic head of state. On November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested when he was caught guarding 36 barrels of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords.
Days following his arrest, many conspirators including Fawkes were arrested and then hanged, drawn and quartered. The following year, the Observance of 5th November Act 1605 was passed to commemorate the event. It is celebrated till today with parades, fireworks, and straw effigies of Guy Fawkes and other political figures which are tossed into the communal bonfire.
Although, public parks provide great entertainment, they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many prefer to host an event in the comfort of their backyard. A private event will give you the liberty to serve food of your choice, play your favorite tunes, and host a variety of activities. While, a get together with friends and family is always fun, starting a bonfire and setting off fireworks can be quite dangerous. Last year, 4436 individuals attended the emergency room because of injuries sustained during Guy Fawkes Night.
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is currently calling on the Government to make a legislature mandating all firework packaging include graphic warnings like the ones which appear on cigarette boxes. They are hopeful people will take caution when hosting a fireworks display.
Here’s How You Can Stay Safe
Set Off Fireworks:
Purchase fireworks that conform to British Standards. They should have BS 7114 and CE written on packaging.
Keep fireworks in its original packaging or in a closed box with a metal lid. Do not empty them all onto the ground or put them in your pocket. You may accidentally set them off.
Wear safety goggles, gloves and earplugs. It can prevent hearing loss and eye damage.
Angle fireworks away from buildings and caution spectators to keep a safe distance as you set them off. Ask them to stand at least 50 feet away.
Pay attention to how windy it is. If there are strong winds, sparks from fireworks can blow towards spectators. You should position people in the opposite direction the wind is blowing.
Keep pet indoors as fireworks explosion may frighten them. Close all doors, windows and draw the curtains. You should also distract them by turning on television.
Start a Bonfire:
Dig a shallow pit. It should be 50cm X 50cm X 01 meter. Surround the pit with stones or with bricks as it will keep the fire from spreading outside.
Do not burn domestic waste as it is injurious to people’s health. Leaves, twigs, and fuel wood should be used instead. They burn very quickly and are safe to use.
Do not pour petrol and fireworks into the bonfire as it may flare-up. Use a fire lighter instead.
Tie back long hair and do not wear scarves, skirts or other loose clothing which can catch fire.
Supervise your children from playing too close to the bonfire. It is very important you a keep an eye on them as they have the tendency to run after other children.
Keep buckets of water nearby or a hose hooked up to a water source. For extra safety, have a fire extinguisher as well. Do not leave the site until the fire is fully extinguished.