Bright sparks win fireworks safety poster competition

Entries have been flooding in from Oxfordshire primary school children in response to a Fireworks Safety Poster competition organised by the County Council's Fire and Rescue Service and Trading Standards team.

Over 540 entries have been received from 19 schools across the whole county - from Banbury in the North to Goring in the South. Primary school children were asked to submit entries from a range of themes relating to firework safety: from misuse, the law and anti-social behaviour; to thinking about animals and having fun with fireworks.

Posters were judged on their fireworks safety message and artistic merit. Twenty finalists attended a special presentation at County Hall to receive a prize from Cllr Ian Hudspeth, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council. The judges for this year’s competition were: Richard Rockall, Senior Public Safety Officer for Trading Standards; Don Crook, Watch Manger for Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service; and Inspector Rachel Patterson of Thames Valley Police.


Don't play with fireworks

Jake Coyne, aged five from Sonning Common Primary School in South Oxfordshire scooped first place in the 4-7 category. Five year old Jake said: “I am very proud of myself.” When asked what he had learnt about firework safety, he said: “Don’t play with fireworks.”

Evie Warland, aged ten from North Hinksey Church of England Primary School in Oxford took first prize in the 8-11 category. Ten year old Evie was shocked to win: “I’m surprised but thrilled.” When asked what she had learnt about firework safety, she said: “Be careful because fireworks are really dangerous.”

Jake and Evie’s winning designs will be used to support next year’s firework safety awareness campaign. The finalists also had the chance to meet a crew of firefighters from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Rewley Road Fire Station in Oxford. Many took the opportunity to climb into the front of the fire engine and pretend they were driving to an emergency incident as firefighters explained how and when they use the engine's blue lights and siren.

Firework safety

Richard Webb, Trading Standards and Community Safety Manager for Oxfordshire County Council said: “The competition is an opportunity for children to learn about important firework safety messages while having the chance for their work to be featured as part of the council’s firework safety messages.

“Three quarters of accidents connected to fireworks involve children and young people – we obviously all want to enjoy fireworks but everybody needs to know that they can be dangerous if not handled properly”.

Councillor Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire County Council's cabinet member for Fire & Rescue and Trading Standards, said: "Who better to ask for help in promoting safety than the young people who most enjoy the excitement of fireworks and bonfire night? Everyone has a role to play in keeping our communities safe and there’s no doubt that even our youngest residents can make a big difference. We are grateful to all the children who put in so much effort to produce such a high standard of entries."

For more information

This advice is part of 365alive, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s vision to work every day to save and improve the lives of people across Oxfordshire. For more information, visit www.365alive.co.uk .