Chelmsford residents are being asked to consider the wider community and keep their fireworks to a reasonable time this year. The City Council’s Rocket O’Clock campaign is returning to emphasise the message about being ‘good neighbours’.

The campaign launched in 2020, with support from local RSPCA inspectors. This year, the council is encouraging everyone to either go to a public display or, if they must have a home fireworks display, to stick to 7.30-8.30pm on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 November 2021.

The time coincides with public displays at Admirals Park and Kings Farm.

The noise and flashes of fireworks are fun for some, but can cause distress and difficulties for others, such as:

  • pets
  • people with conditions like PTSD, autism and anxiety
  • people who rely on assistance dogs
  • very young children and their parents/carers
  • shift workers
  • wildlife
  • livestock and farmers

To help protect these groups, you can also buy silent or quiet fireworks. These still have the colours and effects of ‘regular’ fireworks, but are designed to cause far less noise.

A request to be considerate

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford, said, “Fireworks can be upsetting for a lot of households. While many are out enjoying the lights and colours, there are others spending their November evenings trying to comfort shaking dogs, supporting a child or adult with sensory issues through the overwhelming noise, or experiencing unpleasant memories because their PTSD is triggered by fireworks.

“Realistically, we know we can’t stop people having fireworks at home – the law doesn’t support it and of course many people safely enjoy them. Rocket O’Clock isn’t a legal requirement – it’s a request to please be considerate of others. It helps families to know when to expect fireworks, it limits the time window when distress is caused and as a bonus, displays look better together.”

ABOVE: A graphic that the council is sharing on social media

What the experts say

The National Autistic Society’s website says, “For some autistic people, the unexpected nature of displays can cause anxiety and stress, and for those with sensory issues, fireworks can be very distressing.”

As PTSD UK say, “An assault survivor may be startled and frightened by the sudden bang of fireworks, the explosive sounds, flashes of light and smell of gunpowder may trigger unwelcome memories for some veterans, or a person with PTSD from a natural disaster may mistakenly interpret the fireworks as the sound of another natural disaster… having advance knowledge of a fireworks display near to them can help them to better prepare and cope with any symptoms they may experience.”

The RSPCA’s long-running #BangOutOfOrder campaign tells us that “While the bright colours, flashing lights and snap, crackle and pops are entertaining for humans – these result in huge fear, distress and fatal injuries for all kinds of animals.”

Where can I find a public display?

There are at least three major public fireworks displays in Chelmsford. If you know of another one, please mention it in the comments below and we will add it to the list!

Do you agree with the fireworks campaign?

Please share this article using the links below and use the hashtag #RocketOClock2021 to let your friends, family and followers know.

2 thought on “Council asks city to be considerate and stick to Rocket O’Clock this year”
  1. Yes, heartily agree with the Fireworks Campaign. I grew up in an air-raid shelter and dread 5 November approaching – feels just like the Blitz all over again – that memory does not go away ….

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jacqueline. It perfectly explains the reason why this campaign is happening. We hope the time around Guy Fawkes’ Night isn’t too stressful for you this year.

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