That’s right! Tonight is Bonfire Night! It traditionally celebrates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in November 1605 by a group of Roman Catholics, unhappy with the current religious beliefs of their monarch, James I, and the persecution which they had suffered at the hands of the monarchy. Today, the Houses of Parliament are still searched by the Yeoman of the Guard (with lanterns!) before the state opening.
In Britain, we celebrate this day with fireworks, bonfires, and parades, with straw dummies (representing Fawkes) being tossed onto the bonfires. These fireworks represent the explosives that were never used by the radicals.
But how and why is this event important to opticians? Well, the Eyecare Trust have documented that every year 10 people in the UK lose their sight and 300 people suffer serious eye injuries as a result of accidents caused by fireworks – 73% of these injuries are sustained by adults and most (45%) occur at private parties. One may think that the big fireworks, such as Rockets, are to blame for the all injuries, and indeed the do account for a significant proportion. However, sparklers, which are often thought to be some of the safest fireworks, are also high up on the list of causing serious ocular trauma, burning at temperatures of around 2000 degrees Centigrade.
We want everyone to enjoy their Bonfire Night / Firework Display, so please follow Eyecare Trust’s SPARKLER code for safe and injury free night.
Shield your eyes with protective eyewear when lighting fireworks
Plunge sparklers into a bucket of cold water as soon as they have burnt out
Attend organised displays wherever possible
Read the instructions on the fireworks with a torch and follow them carefully (ensure your fireworks comply with the British Safety Standard (BS7114)
Keep all fireworks in a closed metal box and only light one at a time
Leave fireworks that fail to go off – never return to a lit firework
Ensure everyone stands a safe distance away when the fireworks are going off
Remove all debris and flammable objects from your firework display area
If anyone you are with does suffer a firework eye injury seek medical attention immediately, as quick action can minimise long term damage. Do not rub or rinse the injured eye, or apply any ointments to the eye area.
So, with this safety knowledge having been said by us, and read by you — have a fantastic Bonfire Night and weekend of fireworks!!