Residents are being given safety tips from Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team to help reduce the risks of accidents during Halloween and fireworks events.
- Make sure children’s vision is not impaired by costumes or masks, so they remain alert to moving vehicles and tripping hazards.
- Ensure costumes fit correctly and that they have had additional safety testing, such as provided by the British Retail Consortium’s code of practice. Notification is likely to be shown with wording, such as: ‘This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability.’
- For anyone with food allergies, carefully check the ingredients shown on packs of sweets.
- Use LED lights instead of candles. As beautiful as a glowing candle looks, it is a serious fire hazard.
- Carry electric lights or glow sticks, so children can be seen easily.
- Only knock on the doors of houses that are clearly supporting Halloween.
- Vehicle drivers are reminded to be extra cautious as there will be an increase in children on pavements and crossing roads.
Fireworks safety for Diwali and Bonfire Night
As Diwali and Bonfire Night approach, Oxfordshire County Council is reminding residents that the safest and most enjoyable way to celebrate is to attend a professionally organised public event.
However, if people do wish to have a display in their garden, trading standards gives the following advice:
- Only buy fireworks that are UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed), CE or BS EN 15947 marked compliant.
- Buy from reputable and licensed shops and ask advice before buying.
- Keep fireworks in a closed, metal box.
- Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back.
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
- Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
- Never return to a firework that has not gone off, and never throw used or unused fireworks onto a bonfire.
- Never drink alcohol while lighting a bonfire or setting off fireworks.
- Always supervise children and don’t give sparklers to a child under five.
- Keep the bonfire at least 18 metres away from houses, trees and hedges. There should be a barrier around the bonfire to keep spectators five metres away.
- Before lighting a bonfire, check it is stable and that there are no children or animals inside.
- Only burn dry wood. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire and think about the direction of smoke travel.
- Keep some buckets of water nearby.
- Have consideration for those around you, including notifying neighbours who may have pets or farm animals. People are more likely to plan to protect pets and other animals if fireworks are let off on traditional dates.
- Consider where fireworks and debris might fall, ensuring safety distances are provided for people to keep safe. Safety distances are provided on each firework label or package. These are minimum distances, so follow instructions.
Permitted firework hours
- It is an offence to let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am except on 5 November when the cut off is midnight, and on Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year when the cut off is 1am.
- It is also an offence to set off fireworks in a public place.
Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “Organised fireworks displays are more fun, cheaper and safer than hosting your own fireworks or bonfire party. However, if you are planning on using fireworks for a private event, please follow the fireworks safety code.
“Remember, only buy fireworks from a reputable retailer. Before purchasing, seek advice on the suitability of fireworks for the space available, and check that they meet current safety standards.”
Reporting unlicenced retailers
Anyone with concerns that retailers are not licensed or if shops are not storing fireworks appropriately, selling fireworks that do not display appropriate safety marks or selling to anyone under 18, please contact trading standards on 0808 223 1133