RESIDENTS planning bonfire or firework parties in Halton are being given safety advice in the run-up to celebrations.

Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service say it is one of the busiest times of year for firefighters, who often have to deal with nuisance deliberate fires.

Station manager Andy Gray, deliberate fire reduction manager for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Safety is our number one priority and our advice would always be to go to an organised display, as it is much safer to do so.

"People might see starting a small bonfire or setting off fireworks as a bit of harmless fun, but fire is extremely unpredictable and can easily get out of control and spread – and tragic accidents can happen with fireworks.

"This is always a busy time of year for the service and we work closely with police, local authorities and youth projects to educate and involve local communities in a bid to keep them as safe as possible, and the number of incidents of deliberate fires as low as possible.

"We will be monitoring high activity areas throughout this period, and we would ask the public to support us in reducing deliberate fires by ensuring wheelie bins and rubbish are not left out in the open - once your bin has been emptied please ensure you put it away securely."

If you are thinking of organising your own bonfire, the safety advice is as follows:

  • Never use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire
  • Position the bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs – and always away from fireworks
  • Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side
  • Don't burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles
  • Keep everyone away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised at all the times
  • In case of emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready for use

If you plan on using fireworks then always buy them from a reputable retailer to make sure that they conform to British standards. You can check this by making sure the fireworks have BS 7114 written on the box.

Make sure you follow the below safety advice to make sure you keep yourself and your family and friends safe.

  • Stand well back
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box
  • Only buy fireworks that are CE marked
  • Light at arm's length, using a taper
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Never give sparklers to a child under five
  • Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Always supervise children around fireworks
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit - even if it hasn't gone off it could still explode. Pour water on the embers before leaving

Fires lit prior to bonfire night or fires which are near to property, trees or fences on the day itself will be extinguished by crews if they are deemed unsafe or if they have been left unattended by adults.

You can find more safety advice for the bonfire period, and a list of organised bonfires and fireworks displays in your area via the Service’s website:

To report any unlit dangerous bonfires that require removal call 0303 333 4300.