A firework safety campaign has been launched across the country promoting firework safety in the build up to bonfire night.

The campaign, Operation Firecracker includes a Safe Use Safe Sell element; this involves firefighters and police working with local communities and retailers to prevent the illegal sale and misuse of fireworks.

Campaign launched following tragic death

The campaign was initially launched in Bodmin, Cornwall last year following the death of Mary Fox in 2009.

On the 5th November 2009 a firework was pushed through Mrs Fox’s letterbox. The firework set light to belongings in her hallway, and she died when she was overcome with fumes and smoke.

Firework related injuries

In the UK around one thousand people are injured every year in the run up to bonfire night. The hands, eyes and face are most at risk, and injuries include burns, loss of fingers, lacerations and blindness.

The points below will provide some useful tips on staying safe this bonfire night.

  • Plan your firework display in advance
  • Only purchase legal fireworks marked BS 7114
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Follow the manufacturers instructions printed on the box
  • Light fireworks at arms length and stand well back
  • Never go back to a lit firework
  • Point fireworks away from spectators and buildings
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Never give a sparkler to a child under 5
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  • Keep pets in doors
  • Ensure the bonfire is out and the surroundings are safe before leaving the scene.

Mark Pratten, Crew Manager of Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service said: "Organised firework displays are the safest way to enjoy bonfire night. Check your local media for events nearby so that you can enjoy the impressive displays without putting your family at risk.

"If you are organising your own display then only buy fireworks from a Safe Sell Safe Use retailer and follow the firework code. Each year hundreds of children are scarred for life because parents underestimate the danger of fireworks. A rocket can reach 150 miles an hour and even a sparkler gets five times hotter than boiling cooking oil.”

James Davies, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Unit said: “The hazards of fireworks and bonfires should not be underestimated. At Thompsons we see life changing injuries inflicted on people caused by fireworks and more needs to be done especially around this time of year. Operation firecracker will hopefully raise awareness regarding the dangers of fireworks and prevent some of these terrible injuries.”