An Opticall guide to protecting the elderly during fireworks season

fireworks night

The interesting history of why we celebrate fireworks night 

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. With many of us finding ourselves looking forward to fireworks night every year, often we don’t stop to think about why we celebrate fireworks night passed, thinking of Guy Fawkes and his failed attempt to blow up parliament. Let’s take a look at why fireworks night has become so popular for us and the real reason why we cannot wait to see those beautiful displays in the sky. 

 In 1605, a plot to blow up King James I was stopped by the Catholics. The perpetrator, Guy Fawkes, was arrested along with his comrades. They were tried on the 27th of January, 1606 and found guilty of high treason. Guy Fawkes was sentenced to death on the 31st of January, 1606. Fireworks night didn’t officially start until the 1650s and was joined by bonfire night, where members of the public would create an effigy of Guy Fawkes to be burned on the bonfire because of his act of high treason. 

Much has changed during this time, and fireworks night is a commercial attraction, with paid admission and controlled access to sites. During the 1950s and 60s, however, family bonfire parties and neighbour parties were more in favour. Families began collecting their firewood at the end of the summer, standard fireworks (many of which are now banned in the UK) were brought into the shops just a few weeks before fireworks night, and the effigy of Guy Fawkes would be paraded around villages and streets as a way to collect money for local causes. 

How can fireworks night affect our elderly and vulnerable?

Whilst fireworks are a popular pastime for many, for others, they are a source of great concern and panic. Elderly and vulnerable neighbours, family and friends, and those who are unable to see clearly or have difficulty with loud bangs and bright lights find this period of year extremely distressing. 

Noise is the most significant impact on our elderly and vulnerable during fireworks night. The loud and constant bangs from fireworks can scare and intimidate people, leaving them feeling worried, distressed and often stressed. For the elderly and vulnerable, bangs and noises from fireworks can appear to go on forever and particularly if their sight is not great, these loud noises can leave them feeling confused about what is happening. In others, it may trigger episodes of PTSD from past events. 

How can you protect your vulnerable or elderly neighbours and family?

If you are planning to enjoy some fireworks at home this year, make sure you make it safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We have a few tips to help you prepare your elderly and vulnerable neighbours for the noise: 

Let your neighbours know of your plans – if you are going to do a fireworks night at home, be sure to let your neighbours know and give them a guideline for when you can expect your fireworks to start and stop. This is particularly helpful for the elderly and vulnerable families with young children and pets. 

Purchase appropriate fireworks – whilst we know loud and impressive fireworks are great, buying a load of them can be a real nuisance to your neighbours. Try to switch things up with Catherine wheels, sparklers and other more quiet but no less impressive fireworks. 

Think about your timings – this year, fireworks night falls on a Saturday, which means that most fireworks displays will be happening on either Friday or Saturday night. Avoid a Sunday night, as this could be classed as a noise nuisance. Instead, choose a Friday or Saturday and have your display over by 11 pm. 

Tips to enjoying your fireworks night this year 

For those who love fireworks night, it is a really exciting time and often a way we mark the countdown to the Christmas period. If you are looking forward to fireworks night in 2022, we have some tips and tricks to make sure you enjoy it to the fullest!

Wrap up warm – the temperature is dropping, so be sure to wear layers so you can stay warm whilst you are outside!

Consider going to a local display – often attending a local display and paying for admission is still more cost-effective than purchasing your own fireworks and having a party at home. Consider going out this year, saving a little money and protecting your neighbours from excessively loud noises. 

Don’t forget your waterproofs – with the weather all over the place this week; it’s worth taking your umbrellas and waterproof coats! The worst thing is getting wet whilst watching a fireworks display! 

Lock your pets inside – if you are going out or having a fireworks party this year, make sure your pets are as safe as can be by locking them inside to protect them from the noise. They are likely to be very startled and unhappy, so will need some attention. 

Purchase ear defenders – for little ones in particular, whilst they may love the bright colours fireworks bring, the loud noises can not only be frightening but damaging to their hearing. Buying them ear defenders will protect them from the noise, leaving them free to watch the colours. 

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Opticall Eyecare support your healthy vision all year round

If your love of fireworks has been affected by your eyesight, you may be looking for a reliable optometrist who can support your vision throughout the year. Opticall Eyecare is your local home-visiting optician supporting the Home Counties, Milton Keynes, North West London and Essex. Your eyesight and the health of your eyes are vital to your physical and mental health, and our qualified team of optometrists can deliver comprehensive eye tests in the comfort of your own home. 

If you are looking for a friendly optometrist team to help with your eyesight, get in touch with Opticall Eyecare today.