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Should You Attach a Catherine Wheel to Your Fence?

Sep 14, 2023 - 4 min read
Should You Attach a Catherine Wheel to Your Fence?

The term “Catherine wheel” has its roots in Christian tradition as a type of device on which Catherine of Alexandria was put to death (see Wikipedia article).


So, should I attach it to my fence?

The short answer is 'No', a Catherine wheel should be fixed to a post away from any fire hazards, because if the wheel gets stuck (it happens to the best of us!), you might end up with an unplanned bonfire! For this reason, you shouldn’t use a fence post of a structure like a shed or a tree.

Read on to find out the best way to display your Catherine Wheel safely.


So, where should you secure it?

Nail the Catherine wheel to the post. You’ll need to position it high enough to give a good view, and ensure it’s not too close to the ground, but also make sure you can easily light the fuse from standing on the ground. 

You’ll want the fuse accessible from the ground, so you won’t struggle to light it - never use a ladder to light a Catherine wheel and you’ll need to be able to quickly retreat in a matter of seconds.

When attaching the wheel to the stake you’ll use a nail – normally supplied with the wheel and often sellotaped to the packaging or near the fuse – which you need to bang through the centre hole. You need to bang it far enough in that the wheel is secure from falling off, but not enough to impede the spin.

Once you’ve put the nail in, give the wheel a test spin with your hand to make sure it is moving freely, and do this again before lighting it if you’re setting up in advance.

The weather is never guaranteed in the UK, so if you're setting up your display in advance, or are dealing with damp or rain, a Catherine Wheel is easy to waterproof. Simply place a plastic bag over it, until you're ready to ignite.


Follow these top 10 tips for a safer fireworks party:

1. Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and check the time you can legally set off fireworks
2. In England, Scotland and Wales only buy fireworks which carry the UKCA marks. In the case of Northern Ireland look for the UKNI symbol. You may also see the UKNI mark along with the UKCA symbol. Keep your fireworks in a closed box, and use them one at a time.
3. Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
4. Light the firework at arm's length with a taper and stand well back
5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
6. Never return to a firework once it has been lit
7. Don't put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
8. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
9. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
10. Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Please read Safety advice from RoSPA 




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