Firework safety is paramount! Below are 10 simple points to remember so that you and your guests have an enjoyable fireworks display experience.
- STORE FIREWORKS SAFELY – REMEMBER to ideally store in a closed metal box, somewhere cool and dry until the time they are needed. A lock and key would safeguard again unwanted visitors like prying children and animals too. Try not to keep fireworks within the home but preferably outside in a garage or dry shed
- BE PREPARED – REMEMBER to think ahead and before you start your display, you have given yourself enough space to get to and from your box of fireworks. Have a full bucket of water or sand handy for any emergency, and for putting used sparklers into
- WATCH WHAT YOU WEAR – REMEMBER loose and flammable clothing can very easily catch alight and should never be worn near any fire. Dangling scarves can be risky too. Light the tip of each firework at arm’s length and avoid contact with your clothes and be sure not to lean over your pyrotechnic device. Using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick will offer that extra safety
- ONE AT A TIME – REMEMBER that only one person should light the fireworks at any given time. You or another adult must be the only person letting off fireworks. Don’t allow anyone else – especially children – to do so while your display is going on. Let the fireworks off one at a time (not lots at once) and don’t rush
- NEVER GO BACK – REMEMBER if any of the fireworks do not ignite, never go back to them! They could still be alive and could go off unexpectedly in your face. At the end of your fireworks evening douse all the fireworks with lots of water and wait several hours before attempting to move them
- BONFIRE, NO FIRE – REMEMBER to construct your bonfire away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds. Ask yourself whether you truly need one. Small gardens often pose a big hazard and windy evenings also do the same. Never use a flammable liquid and if lighting your bonfire is difficult, use only domestic firelighters to help
- PETS HATE LOUD NOISES – REMEMBER that pets dislike flashes and loud bangs, so make sure you keep all your pets indoors and close all the curtains to make things calmer. It’s not just your own fireworks that cause distress, so you may need to have your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place
- HAZARDS – REMEMBER that with different fireworks come different hazards. Read all the instructions (by torchlight, never with a naked flame) before use and follow them properly. Rockets, for instance, should be launched from a rocket launcher, not from a bottle. Sparklers for example need careful handling. Make sure you light them one at a time and children should wear gloves
- IT’S NOT JUST FIREWORKS THAT COST MONEY – REMEMBER that it is a criminal offence to throw fireworks in the street or other public place, with a maximum penalty of £5000
- WATCH THAT CHILD – REMEMBER to keep children well away from fireworks, and never let a child handle or light one. Even simple fireworks like sparklers can be dangerous if unsupervised
It is illegal to:
- Possession and use of fireworks is illegal if you are under the age of 18
- Possess professional display fireworks unless you have a professional licence
- Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on the following extended days
- Bonfire Night, from 12am to the following day
- Chinese New Year, from 1am to the following day
- Diwali, from 1am to the following day
- New Years Eve, from 1am to the following day
Fireworks can only be sold and supplied to persons over the age of 18 years old. This includes sparklers as they are classed as fireworks so the same laws apply. It is also illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be in possession of fireworks in a public place. It is not a legal requirement to have any kind of licence or training to buy consumer fireworks.
Category 4 (Professional) fireworks are strictly for the use of a fully qualified professional fireworks company with all year insurance and licensed storage.
All consumer fireworks should conform to British Standards (BS 7114) and be classified as Category 2 (Garden) or Category 3 (Display) fireworks, or conform to the EU equivalent, or carry a CE mark. There is a legal noise limit of 120db on all consumer fireworks.
Certain items are banned in the UK. These include bangers, air bombs and jumping jacks.