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The BBC's Jon Kay
"Hundreds of displays have had to be cancelled"
 real 56k

Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 07:54 GMT
Weather sparks firework threat
Firework display
Emergency services could do without bonfire night
With Britain braced for more rain some of Sunday's fireworks events have been cancelled, raising fears that this year could see more accidents than usual if people decide to hold private displays.

Organised events are much safer than garden firework displays as there is little chance of spectators coming into contact with the explosives.

With emergency services at full stretch in many areas coping with flooding, the government is urging bonfire night revellers to be careful.

Grave dangers

Consumer Affairs Minister Kim Howells issued a special warning to parents, saying they should take extra care to protect children from the dangers posed by fireworks.

Last year more than 1,000 people were injured in firework related accidents. The majority of them happened in family back gardens.

Scores of big public displays have fallen foul of the weather. In most cases saturated public parks have been ruled too wet to cope with thousands of spectators.

There are also concerns that some of the bigger, more dangerous fireworks ear-marked for public displays might be used at private parties.

Storing fireworks at home is dangerous
More than 13 million fireworks have been sold around Britain in the run up to 5 November. Each year there are several accidents caused because fireworks are not stored safely.

"Bonfire Night is a time for fun and excitement, but it is often easy to underestimate the dangers of fireworks," said Mr Howells.

"Don't just presume you know where the children are and that they are safe."

Security risk

The police have repeated annual warnings for homeowners to be vigilant for break-ins.

A spokesman said: "Burglars know many people are out on Guy Fawkes night. The noise of explosions is great cover for someone trying to smash into an empty house."
Firework Safety
Beware high winds blowing fireworks towards buildings or people
Do not be tempted to pour petrol on a damp bonfire
Never return to a firework once it has been lit

Noel Tobin, of the Campaign for Firework Safety, said there were more grounds for safety worries this year.

"Already this year an 18-year-old man has been killed in a firework related accident.

"Each year we warn people to beware of fireworks, and all too often those warnings are ignored," he said.

One of the biggest bonfire displays in the country took place on Saturday night, where luckily for the organisers, the weather remained fine.

Each year more than 30,000 people go to Lewes, in East Sussex, for the bonfire night celebrations. Last week much of the town was underwater.

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