RoSPA Safer Fireworks

Keep Your Family Safe

Click a link below to find out more

Click here for General Advice on firework safety for your family and friends
Click here for advice on bonfire and sparkler safety
Click here for information on how to protect animals from fireworks

 

Did You Know? 

  • It is against the law to carry fireworks in public if you're under 18
  • Fireworks must not be sold to anyone who is under 18
  • It is an offence to let fireworks off during night hours (11pm to 7am), except on Bonfire Night (midnight), Diwali, New Year, and Chinese New Year (1am)
  • It is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875 to tamper with or modify fireworks
  • Did you know that sparklers can reach temperatures more than 15 times as hot as boiling water?

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.

FireworksBe 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.

Sparkler safety

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 fireworksClick here to return to the top of the page

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.

FireworksSetting 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.  

Think of your neighbours…

Let your neighbours know if you are planning a fireworks party, they may have pets which should be kept indoors. In rural areas this could include larger animals such as horses and donkeys in stables nearby . In addition it would be kind to let elderly neighbours and families with young children know there may be some loud bangs. Remember…fireworks can be fun, but have consideration for others!

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.

Animal Welfare

View information on firework related animal welfare.

Disposal of Fireworks

Recommendations for disposal*:

  • Never put fireworks, even those which are fully spent, on the bonfire.
  • Never dispose of them by burying.
  • Put fully spent fireworks (but not misfired or partly spent fireworks) in refuse receptacles.
  • Soak misfired or partly spent fireworks in a container of water in an area where they cannot be tampered with (preferably away from the display site) and contact the manufacturer or supplier for advice on disposal.

*Taken from: Giving your own firework display : How to run and fire it safely. HSE. ISBN 0 7176 6162 8 (Available from HSE Books).

RoSPA acknowledges that information on these pages is used courtesy of the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (formerly the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.)

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