Xanthe’s back with a bangI’m back baby! Gosh who’d have thought I wouldn’t be writing a blog for 7 months!!! I’ll be honest it feels bloomin’ brilliant to be a lexical goddess again. What a year 2020 has turned out to be, but don’t worry we aren’t going to be discussing that huge elephant in every room. I think we already have enough articles to read dealing with that little beggar! No, today we’re going to be talking about a totally avoidable disaster and that is firework safety.
It’s that time of yearOf course, it’s autumn time again, (my favourite time of year!). With it comes bonfire night and all things colourfully explosive. I would like to point out before we jump in, that I don’t actually like fireworks or the booming noise they make, or the effect of said bangs have on our family dog, Dan-Dan. But for the purpose of this blog let’s say I love all things loud.
Story time! …No blog of mine would be complete without a storytime. This is more a story within a story. So when I think of bonfire night, I have two very distinct memories. One really lovely one and the other is pretty horrible. The first memory is being sat on a bed at about the age of 7, looking out a window with my Brothers, Sister and Mum while my Dad let fireworks off at the end of our long narrow garden and being totally mesmerised! Then once the fireworks were over my parents bundled us up in thick Michelin man coats, wellies, wrapped in scarves and donned with mittens and took us outside and gave us sparklers! Now as an adult I see all the ways my parents were being very firework and sparkler safety conscious, starting with my Dad positioning himself a good distance away from our house and keeping us safely tucked up inside with my Mum and ending with my Mum situating herself near a bucket full of water while we played with our sparklers.
Safety firstNow I shan’t lie, I did think it was little overkill and as the years went by we had a few more bonfire nights much the same and my parents continued to always put our safety first, and fun second, (appreciate it guys) and always drilling into us that fireworks were dangerous and not to be played with. Now skip to me being a brooding teenager thinking I knew best (I swear my teenager behaviour will come back to bite me in the butt when I have kids) and I went to a bonfire night display in a park with some friends and it was great fun and we were enjoying ourselves immensely. But of course, you get idiots at these things and some absolute numpty decided it would be hilarious to bring his own fireworks and set them off near crowds and the end result was some poor girl had one blow up near her and I promise you I will never EVER forget the agonising noises that girl made. Obviously, we and everyone around us rushed to help, but by then the damage was done.
Sad reflectionDays later I remember seeing an article of the incident in the local paper and because of how the firework exploded, the girl sadly lost her sight in one eye and had a burst eardrum and so not only did these absolute idiots partially blind her they also took her hearing too! I thank my parents to this day that they were so safety conscious and drilled into us that fireworks aren’t toys.
Now hear thisSo my message with this blog is… PLEASE don’t be that idiot who thinks having a laugh and messing with fireworks is fun because believe me it’s not and someone WILL get hurt. Also, please don’t forget our wildlife. Chilly, frosty mornings and dark evenings herald the arrival of hibernation season for hedgehogs. Piles of dry leaves and unlit bonfires make the ideal spot for sleepy hogs seeking a home for the winter months. “Hedgehog numbers are declining rapidly across the UK, so it’s never been more important to protect the wonderful wildlife on our doorsteps,” said Tarnya Knight from the Born Free Foundation. “Hedgehogs can die or suffer terrible injuries through contact with bonfires, so we’re asking people to be especially vigilant for the next few weeks and take care when building them.” The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) are calling on people to build bonfires on the day they are to be lit to save hedgehogs and other wildlife from appalling suffering.
Play safeI’ve mentioned a few tips below that can keep yourself and others safe:
- Always check your bonfire for wildlife
- Only ever light the bonfire from one side
- Keep a bucket of water nearby if you are setting off fireworks in your garden
- Keep pets indoors
- Follow the instructions on each firework
- Light them at arm’s length using a taper
- Stand well back
- Never go back to a lit firework
- Never throw fireworks
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix and may lead to injury
- Buy fireworks from a reputable retailer
- Always supervise children around fireworks
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
- Never give sparklers to a child under the age of 5
- Prepare for the party in advance, and in daylight. On the night you will need:
- a torch
- a bucket of water
- eye protection
- a bucket of soft earth to put fireworks in
- suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off Catherine wheels or rockets
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to responsible adults only