Guy Fawkes Safety

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Remember, remember the 5th of November. Guy Fawkes Night — it’s the night bonfires are lit and fireworks set off. Even though fireworks are beautiful and exciting to watch, they can also be potentially dangerous, which could cause damage to your property or harm your family and pets. Although not widely celebrated in South Africa, Namola — the free safety app supported by Dialdirect Insurance — has the following advice for keeping safe this Guy Fawkes Night:

Make sure that the fireworks are legitimate. You should only buy fireworks from authorised dealers and shops displaying the relevant permits from the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Know the law. The use of fireworks in South Africa is regulated by bylaws under the Explosives Act, 1956. It states that: Fireworks may not be set off in any public place, for example, in parks, on the pavement or the streets. This also includes shopping malls, restaurants, liquor stores and clothing retailers.Designated areas. Check where the designated areas are and stick to them.

Avoid fire. Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of a malfunctioning firework.

Avoid injuries. Be sure to set off the fireworks in an area clear of people. Fireworks should only be lit in a designated area away from homes and other buildings, trees and cars. Never light fireworks on the grass, but always on a smooth, flat surface such as concrete or the pavement.

Keep your children safe. Never allow children to touch, handle or light fireworks. Red Cross hospital sees an influx of unnecessary burn victims from Guy Fawkes Night. Make sure you know where your children are when dealing with fireworks. Never let under 16’s handle fireworks on their own.

Even the little ones can be dangerous. Sparklers can be just as dangerous. Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hands. Put finished sparklers with the hot end down in a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out.

Pet owners need to take special precaution in keeping their pets safe. Dialdirect offers the following advice for your furry friends:

Stay at home. If your pooch is a little skittish, rather stay at home if you suspect fireworks will be used in your neighbourhood. Just having someone at home while the fireworks are going off can have a calming effect on animals who may be frightened from the noise. If your dog is really nervous, a mild sedative or tranquilizer can calm the fears of a distressed animal. Speak to your vet about this.

Close the windows and the curtains. Attempt to mask any noise by closing the windows and drawing the curtains. Put the television or radio on to provide some noise distraction

Comfort them. Put familiar and comforting things around them such as toys, or their bed or basket.

Tire them out. Tire your dog out before the fireworks start by playing outside or going for a long walk. This will help get the animal into a calm state.

Keep your dogs inside. Keep your dogs inside on Guy Fawkes Night. If you have to be outside with your dog, keep him/her on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Dogs may try to sniff, eat or fetch thrown fireworks or ones that are lighted on the ground. Keep them away from parks, or areas where people may let off fireworks.

Beware of leftover items. If you walk your dog in a public place where fireworks have been set off, watch for leftover sparklers or other sharp objects.

To report a fire or if you have information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks, request assistance through Namola.

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