The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has issued a timely reminder to anyone organising a bonfire this year to make sure the event is carried out safely.
Colin Robb, district liaison manager for the service’s Angus West District based at Forfar, advises those planning their own back garden firework display should be aware of the safety guidelines.
He said: “Your planning and your actions could help prevent an injury.”
He listed a number of safety measures which should be observed.
Fireworks should be stored safely in a closed box, somewhere cool and dry, out of reach of children and animals until the time they are needed.
Keep all pets indoors and close all the curtains to make things calmer. Remember it’s not just your own fireworks that cause distress, so you may need to have your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.
Think ahead and be prepared before you start, make sure you’ll be giving yourself enough room in a safe place to get to and from your box of fireworks while the display is going on.
Officer Robb advised: “Have a full bucket of water handy for any emergency, and for putting used sparklers into. If you have the chance to get together with some other families, try to go to the home with the biggest garden and the safest surroundings. Ask yourself the question - do you really need a bonfire?
“It’s much better if you can manage without one. But if you insist make sure that it’s well away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or shed, should be at least 18 metres (60 feet) away.
“Also be aware of overhead phone lines etc. Never ever use a flammable liquid like paraffin or barbecue fluid to get one going and especially not petrol.
“If lighting your bonfire is difficult, use only domestic firelighters to help.
“Check very carefully that there’s no animal (or even a young child) hidden inside the bonfire. Don’t light it until after all your fireworks have been let off (due to stray sparks or embers).
“Keep everyone at a safe distance away, and don’t allow anyone to throw anything onto it.”
Officer Robb also warned alcohol presents an added danger when there are fireworks and bonfires around.
He continued: “Keep strict control of your guests’ drinking during the display. You could consider not having any alcoholic drink available until after your fireworks have been let off.”
Only one person should be in charge of letting off the fireworks, and these should be let off one at a time.
Never throw a firework onto a bonfire and everyone should be aware of the Firework Code.
He concluded: “Don’t leave your rubbish on the street overnight around bonfire night, wheelie bins are a major target for vandals.”