Firework night: one slight exception to the general rule ‘do not play with fire’. However, this does not mean that Health & Safety can be ‘extinguished’. According to statistics from the NHS, 1,936 people in England needed hospital treatment in 2018-19 because of firework injuries, including 600 children and young people aged under 18. If you’re planning to enjoy fireworks at home this year, make sure you know the rules for fireworks and how to use them safely.
- To buy fireworks you must be an adult over the age of 18 years.
- You can only buy fireworks/sparklers from registered sellers for private use on selected dates in the year; 15th October – 10th November, 26th December – 31st December and the three days before Diwali and Chinese New Year.
- Outside these times, you can only buy fireworks from shops with a special license.
- You should only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time.
- Bonfire night is an exception to the general rule that fireworks must not be let off between 11pm and 7am, on Bonfire night, the cut off is midnight.
- The law says you must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places
- Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
- Adults can let off category 2 and 3 fireworks, which are available to the general public in supermarkets. They will normally have ‘Category F2’ or ‘Category F3’ labels on the box.
- Category 4 fireworks can only be used by professionals and are banned for sale for the public.
- Don’t drink alcohol when setting off fireworks
- Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
- Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
- Never return to a firework once it has been lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
- Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
- Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
What are the consequences of breaking fireworks laws?
- You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally.
- You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90 for breaking fireworks rules.
- If you organise a fireworks event where someone gets hurt, you could potentially face a personal injury claim as well.