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West Midlands Fire Service Brand Bar

Safety Hub

Fireworks

Fireworks, either in the garden or at organised displays, can be fun when enjoyed safely.
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Fireworks often play a big part in celebrations like Bonfire Night, Diwali and New Year.

Between 2014 and 2019, our firefighters responded to some 1,760 bonfire and fireworks-related incidents, so we’re asking people in the West Midlands to help avoid a surge this year.

During the same period, there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales, with 38% of these involving under-15s and the majority being male.

Users often forget that fireworks are explosives and burn at high temperatures, so they need careful handling and storage.

If you do have your own fireworks display, follow our safety tips and guides below.

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

Lighting fireworks

  • only one person should be responsible for letting off fireworks
  • don’t drink alcohol if you’re setting off fireworks
  • light them 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 without warning.

What you'll need on the night

  • a metal box with a lid 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.

Animals and pets

It is against the law to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal. The penalty can be several months in jail, a hefty fine, or both.

Animal firework safety information from the RSPCA

Animal welfare and advice – including how to report animal cruelty

More useful links

Emergency medical services – where to go with serious illnesses or injuries

First aid guide – NHS Choices

Treating burns, scalds and stings

The law

There are laws about when fireworks can be sold, who can buy them and the times they can be set off.

If you’re under 18 you can’t buy the types of fireworks which can be sold only to adults, and you can’t have fireworks in public places. If you do, the police can give you an on-the-spot fine.

It is illegal to:

  • set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public place
  • set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am – except during certain celebrations
  • use or buy fireworks unless they display the CE or UKCA marks. Fireworks marked as BS7114 must not be sold, supplied or given away

If found guilty by the courts, you could be fined or jailed.

When you can use fireworks:

  • until midnight on Bonfire Night
  • until 1am on New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Dealing with a noise nuisance

Firework legislation

If you think a shop is unregistered, or selling fireworks when they shouldn’t, contact your council’s Trading Standards Officer. Your council will also have a list of registered sellers.

Find your local Trading Standards office

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