St John supports fireworks safety message

St John Ambulance Guernsey wants everyone in Guernsey to have a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night and is supporting a multi-agency safety campaign.

Here are the details of the guidelines for fireworks sales and celebrations, which have been released by Robin Gonard – Guernsey’s Inspector of Explosives.

Sale of fireworks

  1. The sale of fireworks will commence on Tuesday 29th October this year and will be allowed until close of business on Tuesday 5th November.
  2. The sale of fireworks to persons under 20 years of age is prohibited.

Advice and Information

  1. Why not attend an organised display? Information is available on local radio, in the local press, on social media and on www.gov.gg/fireworks.
  2. The public and animal owners can receive notifications about displays by signing up for updates on www.gov.gg/fireworks (you will receive a text message on your mobile phone)

Having your own fireworks display

  1. If you hold your own event, the designated days are Saturday 2nd November and Tuesday 5th November 2019 and following Saturday if the weather is poor. Please follow the HSE good practice guidance
  2. http://www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/fireworks/using.htm.
  3. If you are holding your own display, no matter how small, please go to the following site to notify of the location www.gov.gg/fireworks; this will help inform your neighbours and animal owners about potential noise. You can mark the event as “public” if you want to encourage visitors or as “private”.
  4. Be a good neighbour. Let people know what you are planning. If there is livestock in nearby fields let the owners know what you are doing and do not cause a nuisance by firing them late at night.
  5. Keep your display to the designated days (2, 5 November) and reasonable hours between 6.30 – 8.30pm – finishing your display before 9pm. Do not fire fireworks in public places (parks, beaches etc).
  6. When buying fireworks, seek the advice of the retailer and read the manufacturer’s instructions as to the suitability of the firework for the area in which it is to be discharged. Some of those on sale to the public are not suitable for the average garden on the island.
  7. Always buy fireworks well in advance of letting them off; give yourself time to read the instructions on the fireworks in order that you can make the preparations necessary to fire them safely. Many require wooden stakes driven into the ground or a hole dug to partially bury them.
  8. Read, understand and always follow the Fireworks Code https://www.rospa.com/home-safety/advice/fireworks-safety/
    Simple precautions save injuries and damage.
  9. Check the wind speed and direction.
  10. The packaging will give you the safe distance between people, buildings and fireworks (often 8m for smaller fireworks, 25m for larger fireworks).
  11. Never let children light fireworks. Do not allow young people unsupervised access to fireworks.
  12. Remember that sparklers burn at temperatures more than 1000°C – make sure to wear gloves when holding them and have a bucket of water nearby to quench them when they are burnt out. Sparklers cause more injuries every year than fireworks. Have a safe and responsible celebration!

Advice for pet owners from the States Veterinary Officer, David Chamberlain

  1. It is important to keep sound phobic animals in a safe and secure environment that will ideally muffle the sounds. However, animals must not be confined to small spaces as confinement heightens their anxiety. For instance, keep your dog in the house, draw the curtains, turn up the television but let the dog wander from room to room as it wants.
  2. Owners of sound phobic dogs could try to desensitise them months before any noisy event. This should be done with the assistance of an animal behaviourist.
  3. Liaise with neighbours if you have a sound phobic animal so they can moderate the use of noisy fireworks and limit the duration of their display.
  4. Pick up firework or party debris the next day to avoid any injuries to wildlife.
  5. If you’ve left it too late to desensitise your dog you could try anxiolytic medication such as ‘Zylkene’ and behavioural aids such as ‘DAP Diffusers or Collars’ and ‘Thundershirts’.
  6. Owners must be careful not to reinforce the phobia by trying to reassure fearful animals. If you fuss over your dog when it is fearful you will simply reinforce its feeling that there is something to be fearful about. Carry on as normal and your dog will follow your example that there’s nothing to fear.
  7. A proportion of companion animals (dogs/cats/rabbits/guinea-pigs/horses etc.) fear loud sounds, typically fireworks and thunder. It is impossible to predict which animals will develop sound phobias but it usually takes multiple loud sounds to sensitise an animal. When exposed to loud sounds phobic animals become fearful and anxious.