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The Firework Code

Always follow the firework code, stick to these simple rules, and be safe this bonfire night.

  • only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
  • don’t drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
  • store fireworks in a closed box
  • follow the instructions on each firework
  • light fireworks at arm’s length, using the taper provided
  • stand well back
  • never go near a firework that has been lit - even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode
  • never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • always supervise children around fireworks
  • light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • never give sparklers to a child under five
  • keep pets indoors
  • don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never after 11.00pm (except on certain occasions)
  • take care around open flames such as bonfires and barbecues - all clothes even those labeled ‘low flammability’ can catch fire

 

The Law

If you misuse them you may be liable for an on the spot fine of £80. If found guilty by the courts you could get a fine of up to £5,000.It is an offence to:

  • buy adult fireworks if you are under 18
  • set off fireworks in the street or other public places
  • set off fireworks between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am

You can let off fireworks until 12.00 pm on bonfire night and until 1.00 am on Christmas, New Years Eve, Chinese New Year or Diwali.
If you are using fireworks you will need to be aware of your neighbours and make sure that you do not cause a nuisance.

Be safe not sorry

Having fireworks at home can be great fun, as long as they are used safely. Follow our simple steps to make sure your display is safe and fun.

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

Sparkler safely

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 to make sure that they conform to British Standards. This means that they should have BS 7114 written on the box.

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 packet carefully and make sure that the fireworks you buy are suitable for the place where you are going to set them off.

Professional fireworks

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.

Firework displays

If you are organising a firework display for the general public, read our information 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.