Safest People, Safest Places

New team wish everyone a #BetterBonfireNight.

As Bonfire Night approaches, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s new Arson Reduction Team are encouraging the public to attend organised firework displays and advising them how to stay safe this November.

The new team comprises of Arson Reduction Manager, Lee Aspery, Arson Reduction Officer David Cuthbertson and new member of staff Cheryl Stirk, who joined the service in September as Arson Reduction Coordinator. The team will work closely with crews, the service’s partner agencies and the public to reduce arson and secondary fires across the county.

They will launch their campaign #BetterBonfireNight on social media this week to ensure the public are aware of the dangers of bonfires and fireworks, as well as offering advice, hints, tips and information on organised displays.

Bonfires and Fireworks can seriously injure and scar people for life if they are not treated with care. It is important that they meet safety standards and they should also be used and

Lee Aspery, Arson Reduction Manager, said: “The smart way to stay safe is to go to an organised display. You’ll see a lot more fireworks and it’s a lot cheaper. If you are planning to use fireworks at home then please follow our safety advice, the firework code.”

12 steps to staying safe – The Firework Code

Only buy fireworks over the counter from reputable retailers.
Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
Keep fireworks in a closed box.
Follow the instructions on each firework carefully.
Light them at arm’s length using a suitable taper.
Stand well back.
Never go back to a lit firework - if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode
Never put fireworks in your pocket.
Never throw fireworks.
Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
Never give sparklers to children under five.
Keep pets indoors – most animals get very scared by the lights and noise.

Other things you will need on the night include a closed metal box to store the fireworks, (remember to take them out one at a time), a bucket of water to cool sparklers and put out any small fires, eye protection and gloves.

Remember one person should be responsible for lighting the fireworks and remember never throw spent fireworks on the bonfire. Take extra care when near fire, all clothes, even those labelled ‘low flammability’ can catch fire.

Sparklers can reach temperatures of up to 2000 degrees celsius so please supervise children, light them one at a time, wear gloves and put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water.

If a firework does not go off, leave it for at least 30 minutes and place it in a bucket of water. Use something heavy like a brick to keep it in the water. Leave for a minimum of 24 hours and then place the wet firework in a plastic bin bag and tie the bag closed. Do not dry the firework out or take it out of the bag, they need to stay wet. They can now be disposed of in a normal bin.

Lee Aspery added: “By following this important advice and remembering the Firework Code, we hope that everyone can enjoy a #BetterBonfireNight this year and every year.”

Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for adult and health services, said: “We’d urge everyone in County Durham to celebrate this year’s Bonfire Night in the safest way possible by attending official public firework displays.

“The majority of firework-related injuries happen at family or private parties, with around half of those injuries happening to children under the age of 17.

“So although we want people to enjoy Bonfire Night, we want to make sure that people stay safe and our officers, as part of The Safe Durham Partnership, will be carrying out routine checks of businesses, public spaces and hotspot areas to make sure of that.

“If you do decide to host your own Bonfire Night party, make sure you follow the firework code and take every precaution to keep safe.”

For details of organised firework displays in County Durham visit

Advice for businesses on the sale and storage of fireworks is available at and

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