There are plenty of authoritative sources giving information about keeping safe on fireworks night, like this advice sheet from the Met Office.
We’re here to offer a different perspective. We’re here to speak on behalf of your long suffering play equipment. Sure it doesn’t get nervous or stressed like the family pet might. Whatever is thrown at it, your climbing frame will remain stoically planted to the ground. But this time of year poses new risks to your beloved back garden toys.
Keep Fireworks Away From Climbing Frames
The audience exclusion zone should apply to any play equipment, such as trampolines or plastic toys, that could get scorched or damaged by a stray firework. If you have covers for your garden furniture and trampoline, use them, to protect them from falling firework debris.
No Play Zone
Play equipment should be out of bounds for spectators. It isn’t a good idea to be climbing around in the dark anyway and the damp air will make the play equipment slippery. Add to that the scares and distractions caused by exploding fireworks and you’ve got a recipe for a painful fall.
Safety distances on fireworks are calculated on the assumption that spectators will be on ground level. Want an aerial view? Watch from an upstairs window, not the top of your slide.
Use A Suitable Launch Site
Do not attach fireworks to your play equipment or use them as a launching platform. It may be tempting to place that fountain at the top of the slide to give the crowd a better view, or nail the catherine wheel to that handily positioned climbing frame ladder, but don’t. Follow the instructions to affix the fireworks in the appropriate manner. Your play equipment could topple and cause the fireworks to fly in all directions.
Clear Any Kindling
By now many of the trees have shed their leaves and your garden is most likely littered with dry, crumbling leaf litter. If the weather stays dry for a few days before Bonfire Night this natural debris could act as perfect kindling. Clear these away, especially where they have collected around play equipment and outside buildings, and store well away from any fire or fireworks.
Keep friendly with the neighbours by giving them advanced notice of your fireworks party. They would probably appreciate a heads up about when the fireworks will start and when you expect to finish so they can plan their evening and keep pets indoors.
Clear And Light Pathways
If your back garden usually looks like an explosion in a toy factory, it’s a good idea to tidy up before the night. Put away any toys you can to remove trip hazards. Keep a light on at the back of the house, or put up some temporary lights for when people are travelling in and out of the garden.
With careful planning a preparation you can host a fun, safe Bonfire Night party for your family.....and still keep your play equipment looking ship-shape for the next day.