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11/02/2021

Have a happy and safe Chinese New Year!

Top firework and lantern tips

Fireworks

Chinese New Year 2021, the Year of the Ox, will be celebrated on Friday 12 February. Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to wish those within our community a safe, happy and successful time throughout this period.

We would also like to take this opportunity to share important fire safety advice, and to remind participants of the risks posed by fireworks. They should be stored in a cool and dry environment, and the manufacturers’ instructions should be followed.

Business premises that are permitted to sell fireworks are reminded that signage stating the following should be on display to members of the public:

“It is illegal to sell category F2 fireworks or category F3 fireworks to anyone under the age of 18. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess category F2 fireworks or Category F3 fireworks in a public place.”

Storage of fireworks within the premises should be kept clear of escape routes and restricted to authorised personnel, only accessible by lock and key.

Group Commander Phill Mould, Head of Protection for Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, said:

“Fortunately fire and rescue services are not often called to attend incidents that involve fireworks on a large scale. This is due to the good practices generally adopted throughout Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. If we were to attend a firework incident, this presents a risk and could affect the dynamics and decisions made at the time.

“For this reason, it is very important that business premises that are permitted to store and sell fireworks work closely with their local authority and Trading Standards so that we are aware fireworks are onsite.”

Do

  • Read the guidance for intended use of fireworks and ensure that this is adopted
  • Buy fireworks that are CE marked, and from premises that are licensed to the sell them
  • When setting off fireworks, direct them away from buildings and spectators
  • Use fireworks only during the permitted timeframes (Bonfire Night, New Year’s Eve, three days prior to Diwali and three days prior to Chinese New Year)
  • Visit hse.gov.uk/explosives/fireworks/industry.htm for further advice on storing and selling fireworks

Don’t

  • Throw or set off fireworks in a public place
  • Set off fireworks after 1am during the permitted dates
  • Use a naked flame or cigarettes close to fireworks
  • Return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Handle fireworks once they are ready to be used
  • Use any lighting aids such as petrol or paraffin on fireworks, as these will take the firework out of its usual working limits
  • Handle fireworks if you have consumed alcohol or drugs

Use of sky lanterns

The use of lanterns is a tradition going back thousands of years in Chinese history, and is thought to bring about good luck and prosperity to those using them. However, we have safety concerns.

  • While these lanterns are undoubtedly a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant.
  • These floating lanterns not only constitute a fire hazard, but also pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, thatched properties and hazardous material sites.
  • Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service does not support the use of these devices and asks members of the public and event organisers to refrain from using them.

Places of worship

Throughout the pandemic many premises, including places of worship, have had restrictions placed upon them. Because this has resulted in premises being closed for extended periods we would like to remind the Responsible Person that under the Fire Safety Order 2005 they have a duty to make general fire precautions. If a fire risk assessment for the premises hasn’t been reviewed recently, now is a good time to ensure that it is suitable and sufficient.

In anticipation that members of the community may wish to attend their place of worship at this time, we ask that current government guidance is adhered to.