London Fire Brigade

Celebrate Bonfire Night and Diwali safely

05 November 2010

With bonfire and Diwali celebrations being held across the capital this weekend London Fire Brigade is urging people to celebrate safely.

Traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the Brigade, firefighters can be expected to be called to hundreds of incidents – ranging from out of control bonfires to fires caused by fireworks.

Brigade figures show that on Bonfire Night

  • Firefighters receive and attend twice as many calls than an average day.
  • The number of secondary fires  (less serious fires, for instance an out of control bonfire), are five times higher than normal.
  • Firefighters attend twice as many primary (more serious) fires
  • Fireworks cause around 20 serious fires.
  • To make sure you have a safe and enjoyable weekend – whether you are celebrating Bonfire Night or Diwali - it is always best to attend an organised display.

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner Andy Hickmott said: “Every year amateur firework parties and bonfires in gardens or parks get out of hand and our advice has always been that it’s much safer to attend an organised display.

“We even see examples of people lighting fireworks on the balconies of their flat. Any increase in people holding last minute or badly planned firework displays or bonfires is a real concern on a night which is already one of our busiest of the year.”

If you are celebrating at home, the Brigade advises Londoners to follow the firework code and some other key safety tips:

  • Build your bonfire clear of buildings, sheds, fences and hedges
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with water.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box, and always follow the instructions carefully when using them.
  • Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark.
  • Light fireworks at arms length using a taper and stand well back
  • Never go back to fireworks once they are lit
  • If you are celebrating Diwali, make sure all candles are in candle holders and never leave them unattended
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of emergency

For more fire safety advice, visit: