The following advice has been obtained from numerous UK Fire & Rescue Service websites.
Always take great care – you are not playing with toys!!
Always follow the firework code…
- Stand well back
- Keep pets indoors
- Only buy fireworks that are CE marked
- Light at arm’s length, using a portfire or taper
- Follow the instructions on each firework
- Never give sparklers to a child under five
- Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
- Always supervise children around fireworks
- Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
- Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
- Never go near a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode
Keep children safe
We want children to enjoy fireworks but they need to know that they can be dangerous if they are not used properly. Each year over half of all firework injuries are suffered by children. The Child Accident Prevention Trust and Direct.gov have more guidance on keeping kids safe.
Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? They should never be given to a child under five.
Where to buy fireworks
Don’t cut corners just to save a few pounds. Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop to make sure that they conform to current standards.
Sometimes shops open up for a short time before Bonfire Night but these may not be the best places to buy fireworks from. Staff in these shops might not be very knowledgeable about using fireworks safely and their fireworks might not meet current standards.
Don’t buy fireworks from anywhere you’re not sure about, such as the back of a van or from a temporary, unlicensed market stall.
What fireworks to buy
There are different categories of fireworks. Members of the public can buy and set off most of the fireworks that come under Categories 1 to 3. These are fireworks that include those that you can use indoors, in your garden or at a display. Always read the packet carefully and make sure that the fireworks you buy are suitable for the place where you are going to set them off.
Some fireworks can only be bought and used by firework professionals. These include shells, aerial maroons, shells-in-mortar, all bangers, mini rockets, fireworks with erratic flight, some Category 2 and 3 fireworks which exceed certain size limits, and all Category 4 fireworks.
Setting fireworks off
Consider letting your neighbours know that you intend to set off some fireworks. Social media is a quick way to do this – or a note through the door if your neighbours do not use social media.
Only one person should be in charge of fireworks. If that’s you, then make sure you take all the necessary precautions. Read the instructions in daylight and don’t drink any alcohol until they’ve all been discharged. Make your preparations in advance and in daylight or with a torch (never a naked flame). On the night you will need…
- a torch
- a bucket or two of water
- eye protection and gloves
- a bucket of soft earth or sand to put fireworks in
- suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off catherine wheels or rockets
Protect your animals
You should take precautions to protect your pets during the times of the year when fireworks are likely to be set off.
Fireworks and the law
There are laws about when fireworks can be sold and to who – as well as the times fireworks can be set off.
If you are under 18 years of age
If you are under 18, you can’t:
- buy the types of fireworks which can be sold only to adults
- have fireworks in public places
If you do, the police can give you an on-the-spot fine
Using fireworks legally
It is against the law to:
- set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public place
- set off fireworks between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am – except during certain celebrations
If found guilty by the courts, you could be fined up to £5,000 and can be imprisoned for up to three months. You may be liable for an on-the-spot fine of £80.
When you can use fireworks during celebrations
You can let off fireworks :
- until midnight on Bonfire Night
- until 1.00 am on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year
Sparkler – safety advice
Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil?
Sparklers are not toys and should never be given to a child under five.
- Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
- Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand
- Don’t take sparklers to public displays, it will be too crowded to use them safely
- Plunge finished sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out as they can stay hot for a long time
- Always supervise children using sparklers
- Give children gloves to wear when holding sparklers
- Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes – they may catch light
- Show children how to hold sparklers – away from their body and at arm’s length
- Teach children not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run while holding them
Bonfire – fire safety advice
If you’re thinking of organising your own bonfire as part of your celebrations, please follow the safety advice below so that everyone has a good time without getting hurt.
- Site the bonfire well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs AND ALWAYS AWAY FROM FIREWORKS
- Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side
- NEVER use flammable liquids – paraffin or petrol – to light the fire
- Don’t burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles
- Keep everyone away from the fire – especially children, who must be supervised all the time
- For an emergency keep buckets of water or the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready
- Pour water on the embers before leaving.