People celebrating this season's festivities are being urged to keep in mind the dangers of fireworks.
Debbie Robinson, deputy manager for community fire safety at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, says:
"Fireworks add fun and excitement to any party but it's important to remember that they also maim and kill. They are explosives, after all.
"When you're in the full flow of the party, it's easy to overlook the dangers of something that should be fun, but statistics show that from 2000 - 2005, more than 6,600 people needed hospital treatment because of fireworks, and two people died.
"Around half of the injuries happen to children under the age of 16, leaving them scarred by burns for life.
"No one wants their celebrations ruined by injury, so please follow our top tips to help keep you safe."
- Make sure you only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark - this shows they meet British or European safety standards.
- Never buy fireworks from an unlicensed market stall or out of the back of a van - while they might come cheap, they could cost you more than money if they're not certified as safe.
- Make sure to light fireworks and bonfires well away from any buildings, fences, trees, and overhead cables like telephone wires. Make sure the bonfire is stable and won't fall over before you light it.
- Don't build your bonfires too big or use petrol or paraffin on them - they can quickly get out of control. Also, remember to check the weather forecasts, as strong wind may cause your bonfire to get out of hand.
- Remember: alcohol and fireworks don't mix. Anyone lighting them at your party should steer clear of the beer.
- Follow the instructions on the fireworks to the letter, and wear gloves when lighting them or using sparklers. Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby to cool sparklers and put out any small fires that may start.
- Make sure everyone keeps a safe distance from both fireworks and bonfires - and never approach a firework that hasn't gone off.
- Make sure you use suitable supports, like a bucket of sand, for launching rockets.
- Keep pets indoors. The terrific noises that fireworks make can frighten them, making them want to bolt or hide. If your pet has become stuck, trapped, or injured, use common sense in trying to rescue it - don't put yourself at risk.
- And finally, make sure you have a phone to hand to dial 999 if there is an emergency.