Keep yourself and loved ones safe in the upcoming festivities
In the upcoming weeks, there will be two major celebrations, Halloween and Bonfire night. Both events are fun days, centred around spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the associated festivities, however, both holidays carry intrinsic risks that you need to ensure you are prepared for to make the event as safe as possible.
First comes Halloween, an annual celebration encouraging participants to dress up and have some fun with partaking members of their community, below are some considerations to help make the day as safe as possible.
Costumes and accessories
Choose a costume that fits well and is flame-resistant. Avoid costumes with long, draping fabric or loose-fitting masks that could obstruct your vision.
If you are making your own costume, use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon.
Add reflective tape or striping to your costume and trick-or-treat bag to make yourself more visible at night.
Wear comfortable shoes that fit well.
If you are wearing a mask, make sure it has eye holes that are large enough to see clearly.
Avoid wearing contact lenses unless you have a prescription from an eye doctor.
Trick-or-treat with a friend or family member, especially if you are young.
Only visit houses that are well-lit and have the porch light on.
Let your parents know your route and when you expect to be home.
Stay on the sidewalk and cross the street at crosswalks.
Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for traffic, especially in residential areas.
Do not eat any treats until you get home and your parents have inspected them.
If participating, turn on your porch light to welcome trick-or-treaters.
Use battery-operated candles or LED lights in jack-o’-lanterns instead of open flames.
Keep decorations, especially those involving lights, away from flammable materials.
Remove tripping hazards from your walkway and yard.
Keep pets inside or in a safe area away from the front door.
Throw away any treats that are unwrapped, damaged, or have an unusual appearance or odour.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating any treats.
Avoid eating homemade treats from strangers.
Be mindful of food allergies when distributing or receiving treats.
Consider offering non-food items as alternatives.
Other safety tips
Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for suspicious activity.
If you see anything suspicious, report it to a police officer or other adult.
If you are going to a Halloween party, make sure to have a ride home arranged in advance.
Have a first aid kit on hand for minor injuries.
Next, we have bonfire night, and despite the advances in health and safety in the 400+ years since Guy Fawkes attempted a coup d’état in 1605, the tradition of setting off fireworks on the 5th of November continues to be a dangerous activity.
Fireworks night weekend remains a very busy time for emergency services all over the country, the period often coincides with the Hindu festival Diwali, a celebration also synonymous with fireworks displays, resulting in a dramatic increase in emergency callouts. NHS England 2020/2021 figures show that there were 116 hospital admissions of people injured by fireworks. 21 of these admissions involved children aged 14 or under.
What can you do to stay safe this bonfire night?
Most say the best way to celebrate is at public displays, as the fireworks will be safe and handled by qualified staff onsite. However, if you do decide to celebrate at home, it is important to ensure you do so safely. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) have produced some guidance to help you stay safe this weekend:
Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and check the time you can legally set off fireworks
In England, Scotland and Wales only buy fireworks which carry the UKCA marks. In the case of Northern Ireland look for the UKNI symbol. You may also see the UKNI mark along with the UKCA symbol. Keep your 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.
Combine this with advice from The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to help stay safe this weekend:
Only buy fireworks from licenced sellers
Let fireworks off on traditional celebration dates and adhere to the fireworks curfew
Follow the instructions outlined by the supplier
Understand what fireworks you can use at home
Be considerate to animals and keep pets safe when letting off fireworks