Firework Safety

Fireworks Safety Code

The firework safety code is widely recognised in the UK as a set of guidelines to ensure the explosives are handled in a safe manner by the public.

There is nothing quite as thrilling as fireworks particularly here in the UK where they are the highlight of several celebrations including Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve. However, when mishandled fireworks can be dangerous – they are explosives after all! Setting off your own fireworks does not require any training however it’s important that you observe the following fireworks safety code:

  • Only buy fireworks with BS 7114 or CE mark – this means the firework meets British or European safety standards, which all fireworks should meet (a reputable shop will know this)
  • The individual setting off the fireworks should avoid consuming alcohol
  • Always store fireworks in a closed, metal box taking them out one at a time
  • Keep a bucket of water close by
  • Follow the instructions for each firework – light them by torchlight, never with a naked flame
  • Light all fireworks at arm’s length using a port fire lighter (provided with every firework from reputable firework retailers)
  • Ensure spectators stands well back – at least 25 metres with Category 3 fireworks
  • Never go back to a firework once it has been lit - even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode
  • Never keep fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Always supervise children around fireworks and never give sparklers to a child under five
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Pets should be kept away from the display; preferably in a different location away from the noise
  • Don’t set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am as it is against the law. The only exceptions are on Bonfire night, before Midnight and Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year by 1am
  • Take extra care around naked flames such as bonfires and barbecues - all clothes, even those labelled ‘low flammability’, can catch fire

Fireworks safety for children

Children tend to get very excited around fireworks or anything sparkly for that matter! Statistics show that boys aged 12-15 are most likely to get injured, mostly due to disregarding the fireworks safety code. Here are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Fireworks should NOT be set off by anyone aged under 18. ID is also required when purchasing fireworks
  • Use quiet fireworks around children experiencing them for the first time to avoid the loud bangs
  • Place all used sparklers in a bucket of cold water
  • Don’t hold babies while holding a sparkler – they can reach out and grab it unexpectedly!
  • Follow the safety distance recommendation for every firework
  • Ensure that sparklers aren’t being waved at other people

Here’s a fun poster on fireworks safety for children by the Department of Trade and Industry:


Bonfire safety

The weather can be cold and gloomy on Guy Fawkes Night. Bonfires are perfect for creating a cosy outdoor atmosphere. However, there are several essential safety measures that must be considered.

  • Bonfires should be built away from fences, buildings, roads, sheds, trees, and bushes and, if possible, choose a location sheltered from wind to minimise smoke and the bonfire being blown out of control
  • Ensure there are no cables above the bonfire
  • Avoid wearing loose clothes and tie back long hair
  • One person should be responsible for the bonfire
  • Plan the bonfire in advance – warn neighbours and keep a fire extinguisher on standby
  • Build your bonfire as close to the night your lighting it to avoid animals such as hedgehogs, frogs, and toads crawling inside
  • Only burn dry materials such as tinder and kindling wood – avoid throwing rubber, plastic and foam in the bonfire as it creates an unpleasant smoke along with dangerous items such as petrol, aerosol cans and batteries
  • Keep a bucket of water at hand in case of emergencies
  • Pour water over the bonfire even when it has died down to avoid it reigniting

 

More information

Find out more about fireworks safety code and statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/429179/Bonfires_and_Fireworks_-_VE_Day_update.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/fireworks-the-law

http://www.saferfireworks.com/

https://www.fireworksafety.co.uk/

More information on fireworks safety for children:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/firework-safety-schools-pack-key-stage-1

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/firework-safety-schools-pack-key-stage-2

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/firework-safety-schools-pack-key-stage-3

Related downloads:

  • FD- Risk Assessment

    Use this risk assessment to determine potential hazards, layout of display and distance required from the fireworks to spectators. 

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