Local MSP urges people to stay safe this bonfire night

As preparations continue across the region for Bonfire Night this Saturday, people are being urged to make plans to ensure they stay safe during the annual celebrations, writes Donald Ramsay.

Christine Grahame, the MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, has reminded the public of the importance of good preparation for those arranging a fireworks celebration at home.

She said: “Now is a good time to start thinking about issues such as the law concerning fireworks, whether you have enough space for people to watch from a safe distance, who will be attending and will there be lots of children around.” This weekend, many people will be remembering the foiled plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

And, as always, Bonfire Night will be an occasion for fun and entertainment, with many enjoying fireworks displays and bonfire parties across the region.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue services has published details of the Fireworks Code on its website, and anyone attending or organising a Bonfire Night party should familiarise themselves with its important messages in advance, including – Keep fireworks in a closed box.

– Follow the instructions on each firework.

– Light all fireworks at arms length.

– Stand well back.

– Never go back to a lit firework.

– Never put fireworks in your pocket.

– Never throw fireworks.

- Keep pets indoors.

– Bonfires should be no higher than 2.5m, and at least 18m from buildings, trees and houses.

The minimum age for buying category two fireworks (the type suitable for garden displays) is 18 in Scotland, and people should make sure the packaging carries the “CE” mark or complies with BS 7114 and is clearly marked for their intended use – indoor, garden or display.

Ms Grahame urged anyone buying fireworks to be vigilant.

“When buying fireworks it’s important that people use a reputable retailer. Illegal fireworks can be extremely dangerous as they have usually been made to much lower standards than legal goods,” she said.

Ms Grahame advised that the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a properly-organised display, although she recognised that not everyone has the option of attending such events.

She said: “If people can’t get to an organised fireworks display, it’s imperative that they plan ahead and don’t leave safety until the last minute.

“It’s a sad fact that each year, hundreds of people are injured by fireworks on and around Bonfire Night, and many more people are injured at private parties than at large public displays.”