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Although I adore Hallowe’en, I’m equally as excited about the event that follows it; Bonfire Night.  Arguably we’re approaching one of the most dangerous times of the year – and with three boys under five I’m alert to many of the dangers I never considered when I was a child, having fun “oooh”ing and “ahhh”ing over the colourful lights that racketeered into the night sky.

Bonfire night since I was as small as I can remember meant hefty duffel coats and chunky woollen mittens, old jeans and well worn wellyboots, everybody bundled up and stood together on one of the chilliest social nights of the year as we prepared to hear the boom of our local firework display.

When we weren’t able to make it to the display, it was sparklers in the garden [which terrified me thanks to the television adverts showing children with what was essentially branded skin] and our neighbourhood bonfire with friends, and then hot dogs and slow cooked baked potatoes wrapped in crinkly aluminium foil, as we over-excitedly tried to stay up as late as possible and play our hearts out in the darkness of the village green, until our parents decided it was time for bed and rounded us up to trek down the hill and go home.

Yet for as much as I cherished each Bonfire night, at some point we’d hear a terrible or tragic tale of an accident with a firework or a fire that had gotten out of control.  It was scary as a child, and it’s scarier now as a parent.

I’m quite sure that one of the reasons Fireman Sam is a favourite in our house is because he’s just so safe.  He’s [cool and] calm in the face of danger – and if an accident should ever happen when my little ones are around, I hope that they would remember Sam’s lessons and use good judgment [as much as under 5s can] in any situation that should arise.

This week is fire safety week and we’re working with the good firepersons of PontyPandy Station to give everyone some brilliant tips for staying safe over Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night.

• Site your bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and always keep away from fireworks.
• Build the bonfire stack so that it is stable and never light with flammable liquids.
• Keep everyone away from the fire, especially children who must be supervised at all times, and pets are best kept indoors.
• In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.
• Pour water on the embers before leaving.
• Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on each firework. Read them by torchlight – NEVER a naked flame.
• Light fireworks at arm’s length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick. NEVER go back to a lit firework.
• Always wear gloves when handling sparklers and hold at arm’s length. Once finished, put in a bucket of water.
• Never give sparklers to children under 5.
My boys are so happy – because Fireman Sam has published his Safety Tips on YouTube for me everyone to watch…
Everyone stay safe this firework season – be like the hero next door.

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