Victoria Park fireworks, 2009
Photo by Ali Wade on Flickr

Some safety tips from Northfield Fire Red Watch. Have a fun and safe bonfire season!

From CC Paul Smith:

With Halloween and Bonfire night approaching Red Watch at Northfield Fire Station want all our community to have a safe and enjoyable time, so please take some time to read this useful information, thank you.

Firework safety checklist

Figures have shown that more children than adults get hurt by fireworks. If you are thinking of using fireworks as part of your celebrations, you should follow the steps listed below.

Before your firework display

Preparation is key to enjoying fireworks safely, so:

· don’t buy fireworks from anywhere you’re not sure about, like a van or a temporary, unlicensed market stall
· only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark – this shows that the firework meets British or European safety standards (a reputable shop will know this)
· follow the instructions on each firework – read them in daylight or by torchlight, never by a naked flame
· make suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off Catherine wheels or rockets

Things you will need on the night

It’s easy to get a few household things together, these are:

· a closed metal box to store the fireworks – take them out one at a time
· a bucket of water – to cool sparklers and put out any small fires
· eye protection and gloves
· a bucket of earth to stick fireworks in

Lighting fireworks

Follow these simple guidelines to stay safe:

· only one person should be responsible for letting off fireworks
· don’t drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks
· light fireworks at arm’s length, using a taper
· make sure everyone stands well back
· never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode


Sparklers are fun, but always:

· supervise children with sparklers and never give them to a child under five
· light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
· put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water

Other tips

Finally, follow these other rules for a safe celebration:

· keep pets indoors – most animals get very scared by the lights and noise from fireworks
· never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
· never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire
· take care around bonfires – all clothes, even those labelled ‘low flammability’ – can catch fire
· Bonfire safety

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 of £80.

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.


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