Information for Adults & Children
Having fireworks at home can be great fun, as long as they are used safely. Figures show more children rather than adults get hurt by fireworks. Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries.
Be safe not sorry
Fireworks are safe if you use them properly. If you’re putting on a home display, you should follow some simple steps to make sure that everyone has a good time without getting hurt.
Keep kids 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 have more guidance on keeping kids safe.
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.
Where to buy
Don’t cut corners just to save a few quid. Always buy fireworks from a reputable shop ONLY BUY FIREWORKS MARKED BS 7114 OR CE MARKED (EN 15947).
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 British Standards.
Whatever you do, 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 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 instructions 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: air bombs; aerial shells, aerial maroons, shells-in-mortar and maroons-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 them off
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. On the night, you will need…
- a torch.
- a bucket or two of water.
- eye protection and gloves.
- a bucket of soft earth to put fireworks in.
- suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off Catherine wheels or rockets.
If you are organising a firework display for the general public, please download the information leaflet on how to organise safe and successful firework displays.
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. Further information can be downloaded here.
• ONLY BUY FIREWORKS MARKED BS 7114 OR CE MARKED (EN 15947).
• DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL BEFORE SETTING OFF FIREWORKS.
• ALWAYS SUPERVISE CHILDREN AROUND FIREWORKS.
• KEEP PETS INDOORS.
• KEEP FIREWORKS IN A CLOSED BOX – Take them out one at a time – Keep box closed between use.
• NEVER PUT FIREWORKS IN YOUR POCKET.
• NEVER THROW FIREWORKS.
• FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON EACH FIREWORK CAREFULLY.
Before setting off fireworks, and in good light, carefully read the warnings and instructions.
Make any appropriate preparations necessary in advance
Secure the firework according to the instructions.
Even though a firework may appear stable when simply standing on the ground, the force of a shot leaving some fireworks may cause it to fall over if not correctly secured.
• ENSURE THE SPECTATORS ARE AT THE REQUIRED SAFETY DISTANCE.
• LIGHT END OF FIREWORK FUSE AT ARMS LENGTH – Preferably with safety firework lighter or fuse wick.
• RETIRE IMMEDIATELY TO THE SPECIFIED SAFETY DISTANCE.
• NEVER GO BACK TO A FIREWORK AFTER IT HAS BEEN LIT – EVEN IF IT HASN’T GONE OFF IT COULD STILL EXPLODE.
• YOU CAN LET FIREWORKS OFF ANY TIME OF YEAR AND ANY DAY OF THE WEEK INCLUDING SUNDAYS, BUT YOU MUST LET THEM OFF BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 7 AM AND 11 PM.
Exceptions to the 11 PM rule are:
November 5th (Bonfire Night / Guy Fawkes): You can let fireworks off until midnight.
Diwali: You can let fireworks off until 1 AM.
December 31st (New Year’s Eve): You can let fireworks off until 1 AM.
Chinese New Year: You can let fireworks off until 1 AM.
• ALWAYS KEEP CHILDREN WITH SPARKLERS UNDER CLOSE SUPERVISION.
• DO NOT GIVE TO A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 5.
• LIGHT ONLY ONE SPARKLER AT A TIME AT ITS OUTERMOST END.
• DO NOT INHALE SMOKE.
• HOLD SPARKLERS AT ARM’S LENGTH AND WEAR GLOVES.
• KEEP SPARKLER AWAY FROM ANY PART OF THE BODY AND FLAMMABLE MATERIALS.
• SPENT SPARKLERS REMAIN VERY HOT – PUT USED SPARKLERS HOT END DOWN INTO A BUCKET OF SAND OR WATER.