Make sure your bonfire night bash goes off with a bang the right way
One consolation of the darker and chillier evenings approaching is looking forward to fireworks night in early November. If you’re planning a party to celebrate the demise of Guy Fawkes, then some advanced preparation will ensure the big night goes off with a bang in a good way.
What category of display is yours?
The size of your fireworks party will depend on what steps you have to take and your knowledge of handling and using fireworks:
Clubs and organisations: broadly speaking, if you’re involved in putting on a display for an organisation such as a sports club, school, charity, local pub or similar attracting some 100 attendees then advice from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) should be sought. You can download their booklet for further help.
Private party: for a firework display in a back garden or similar for friends and family, then basically the instructions on the box of the fireworks would cover handling requirements.
Preparing the ground – literally
Even if your fireworks display is a small affair with a handful of friends and family, you may still require extra parking so plan ahead. If you find there’s not enough room on whatever hard standing you have, or there’s not much room by the kerb on the road outside your house, then maybe you can use grassy areas.
A bit of preparation would be worthwhile; being a wetter time of year the chances are your grass may be a bit damp which means it could get churned up by cars manoeuvring and parking on it. Companies such as Essex based Suregreen provide various ways to park effectively on grass; plastic mesh is a good example of a Suregreen grass protection solution and effectively strengthens grass to enable parking without the surface getting damaged.
Buy the right fireworks
Be careful in choosing your fireworks; display fireworks have a spectator distance of at least 25 metres so these aren’t appropriate for smaller gardens. Therefore you’ll require garden class (category 2) fireworks with a spectator distance of a minimum of 5 metres.
Tell the neighbours
Do let your neighbours know you’re planning a fireworks display; the noise of fireworks going off will obviously be noticeable and they may have a nervous pet they wish to ensure has some company that night.
Sounds obvious but ensure invitations go out in good time and that you explicitly ask people to ‘RSVP’ if you need to know numbers closely. Maybe your party is a bit bigger so can be flexible with plus or minus numbers; on the other hand a smaller gathering can be affected if you have no real idea of who is going to show and who isn’t – such as ensuring enough food is ordered and a large influx of cars won’t cause parking issues.
Make sure you inform guests whether food is being provided and to what extent; if it’s only a light buffet you don’t want people who haven’t eaten anticipating a big spread.
If you’re providing food don’t wait until the day itself before dashing off to the supermarket or local supplier such as baker or butcher – others may have the same idea so your butcher may have had a run on sausages and chicken pieces. Order in advance if needs be.
If you’re planning to provide sounds then ensure it’s all ready to roll. A larger party may mean hiring a disco, so do so in plenty of time as others may have had the same idea for their firework parties.
If your gathering is smaller scale and it’s music from the iPod dock and some loudspeakers out on the patio, then ensure your playlist is ready. You don’t want to be going back and forth chopping and changing music selections; far better to have plenty of suitable music to last the evening on one large playlist.
Prepare for emergencies
If you take care and act responsibly than all should be well, but in the end fireworks and open fires (if you’re having a bonfire, too) are obviously hazards so prepare for the worst:
First aid kit – have one stocked with up to date supplies readily to hand.
Fire extinguishers – a hosepipe connected to the garden tap ready to go or a bucket or two of water within easy reach.