This year’s Diwali, the ‘festival of lights’ celebrated by the Sikh Hindu and Jain communities, coincides with bonfire night today, November 5th, so we can expect more firework parties than usual.
Hampshire Constabulary is urging people to be considerate to others and think about the laws surrounding fireworks. What should be a festive event can be become a very miserable occasion for many people living in Hampshire if fireworks are not used in the correct manner.
Extra police officers and will be out and about across the county during the busy firework and bonfire period to reassure the public and to deal with any incidents which arise.
Hampshire Constabulary’s Neighbourhoods and Partnership lead, Chief Inspector Jerry Patterson said:
“People should remember that fireworks are dangerous and that it is illegal for anyone to set off or throw fireworks in the street.
“Fireworks can be extremely dangerous when misused and can cause serious injury. We are urging people to be sensible and careful and we don’t want anyone hurt or distressed because of the stupidity of someone else’s behaviour with fireworks.”
The police have given a warning that anyone under the age of 18 caught possessing adult fireworks in a public place or throwing fireworks in the street could be issued with an £80 penalty notice.
The Fireworks Act makes it an offence to:
- Let fireworks off in a public place. A public place is anything other than your own property such as parks, the street or at school.
- For anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place (other than a sparkler).
- Possess public display fireworks by anyone other than a firework professional.
- Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am – apart from on 5 November, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year, when the curfew is extended to midnight.
- It is illegal for shops to sell fireworks without an appropriate licence. Shopkeepers must also display a notice for customers, explaining the law.
- There is a compulsory training course and a 120-decibel noise limit for all those organising large public fireworks displays.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue have also issued a reminder to follow the Firework code:
The firework code
Before they explode, read the Code!
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
- Dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished.
- Never give sparklers to a child under five.
- Ensure that all children with fireworks are well supervised.
- Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
- Keep fireworks in a closed box or tin. Use them one at a time, replacing the lid immediately.
- Follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch or hand lamp. Never use a naked flame.
- Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper.
- Do not drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
- Stand well back.
- Never go back to a lit firework, even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
- Never put fireworks in your pocket.
- Never throw fireworks.
Finally, remeber our four legged friends. Keep pets indoors leave a light and a radio on or get someone to stay with them.
Photo: ©Craig Toron