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Follow the Firework Code This Diwali

Keep people safe during the celebrations

Thursday (October 19) marks another beautiful Diwali celebration – homes will be lit up with candles, and firework displays will be held up and down the country. Thursday also marks another year that A&E departments will be gearing up to deal with horrific burn injuries.

Figures from A&E departments in England show that 168 people were admitted to hospital for firework injuries in 2015/16, with 27 of them being children between the ages of 10-14, and 16 between the ages 5-9. These figures are a 47 per cent increase in firework injuries from 2014/15, so RoSPA is urging people to follow the firework code to ensure everyone’s safety and get these numbers down.

The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display, so RoSPA highly recommends attending organised displays, but if you are planning on holding one at home:

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • 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.

With celebrations such as Diwali comes the issue of underage people buying and misusing fireworks. It is against the law to sell fireworks to under-18s in Britain, and it is also illegal to carry fireworks in public if you’re under 18.

Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at RoSPA, said: “Fireworks are not toys and should never be used as missiles - they are explosives that can seriously injure people and leave lifelong scarring.

“This is a dangerous and irresponsible act which could easily result in serious injury. We urge teenagers not to give into peer pressure or to encourage others to copy this behaviour.

“We encourage people to go out and enjoy these celebrations, but with the knowledge of the dangers these objects pose.”

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Accidents are the biggest threat to you and your family for most your life. In fact, more than 14,000 people die as a result of accidents across the UK each year, while thousands more are maimed and millions are injured. Businesses are ruined. Families are devastated. Children grow up without parents, parents without children. Yet despite the scale and severity of the problem, accidents are still too often discussed with a shrug of the shoulders. There is a pervasive belief amongst some people that accidents are somehow inevitable. That they can't be stopped. Imagine if we took the same attitude towards child abuse. Or cancer. For almost 100 years, RoSPA has been quietly working behind the scenes to change both legislation and attitudes surrounding accidents. From the compulsory wearing of seatbelts and the campaign to stop drink driving, to the Cycling Proficiency Test and to the more recent ban on handheld mobile phones behind the wheel, RoSPA has been instrumental in shaping our society for the better, preventing millions of deaths and serious injuries along the way. As a registered charity, we are committed to continuing this legacy of change.