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Advice for Bonfire Night parties 31 October 2006

The Department of Home Affairs is urging Isle of Man residents to stay safe this Bonfire Night.

The Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service advises people to go to an organised Bonfire Night event. However, if you are having a private Bonfire Night party, there are some crucial safety points which should be observed.

The Fire Service’s Community Safety Officer Carl Kinvig said:

‘First of all the Fire Service recommends that you don’t have a bonfire in your garden but if you choose to, you should ensure it’s at least 18 metres away from any building – such as your house or garden shed – or hedge. When you light your bonfire, use domestic firelighters and not paraffin or petrol as this can lead to the fumes igniting and injuring spectators.’

Anyone planning a bonfire should advise the Emergency Services Joint Control Room in advance, by phoning 697327. In an emergency always ring 999.

Sub Officer Kinvig added that if, despite taking precautions, your clothing catches fire then remember: •

  • STOP where you are
  • DROP to the ground
  • ROLL over and over

Assess any burns and seek medical help if required.

More information at

The Department of Home Affairs is taking the opportunity to reiterate the fireworks safety message being promoted by other government agencies in the run-up to Bonfire Night. The Fireworks Act 2004 states fireworks can be bought only between October 25 and November 5, plus during the week up to New Year’s Eve.

Anyone planning a fireworks display outside the permitted dates must inform the Department of Home Affairs, and advertise when the display is to be staged.

Sub Officer Kinvig added:

‘You should make sure that any fireworks that you buy conform to British Standard BS 7114. Old or out of date fireworks should be disposed of – they can be handed in at fire headquarters at Elm Tree House in Onchan on weekdays between 9am and 5pm.
‘Fireworks should ideally be stored in a metal container and the person lighting the fireworks should not consume alcohol. Sparklers should not be given to any child under the age of five – this is actually the biggest cause of Bonfire Night injury. Always make sure you have a bucket of water to place used sparklers in – children have been known to pick them up and burn their hands.’

In addition the Department warns that it is an offence, at any time, to let off a firework in a public place within the hearing or sight of a person or domestic animal likely to be caused harassment, annoyance, alarm or distress thereby.

Devices that are not classed as fireworks for the purposes of the Act include caps, cracker snaps, sparklers and party poppers.

More fireworks information is available on the OFT website: or can be obtained by contacting the Department of Home Affairs, on 694300.

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