Fireworks are a traditional part of enjoying celebrations such as Bonfire Night or New Year but they are the cause of many serious accidents every year - it should be remembered that they are dangerous explosives. The safest way to enjoy them is to go to a professionally organised event.
Can the Police do anything about fireworks?
If you are planning on holding a firework/bonfire display please inform Environmental Health. We will be able to provide advice on how to hold an event safely. In addition, please refer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website in addition to the two HSE publications:-
For more advice about firework safety, go to the following websites:-
- Fire Service UK - Bonfire and Firework Safety
- Advice for organisers of Public Displays
- National Campaign for Firework Safety
- UK Firework Safety Pages
- Fire Kills - Safety tips for Celebrations
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)
Remember that pets are frightened of fireworks - always keep them indoors.
You can download a leaflet Fireworks and Pets in PDF format from the Blue Cross - All About Pets Web Site
Retailers selling fireworks must be registered with Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards who investigate problems with unsafe products.
Follow the Firework Code
If you buy fireworks, always make sure they comply with BS 7114 and are clearly marked for their intended use 'Indoor, Garden or Display'
- Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin
- Use them one at a time, replacing the lid immediately
- Never put fireworks in your pocket
- Read the instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp never use a naked flame
- Light fireworks at arms length using a taper or a firework lighter
- Stand well back and never return to a firework after it has been lit, it could explode in your face
- Ensure that all children with fireworks are well supervised
- Never throw fireworks
- Keep all pets and animals indoors
- Take care of sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished
- Despite annual safety warnings, Bonfire Night week still ends in disaster for far too many families. Fireworks can provide fun and entertainment, but only if everyone follows the right safety procedures and remembers that fireworks can be very dangerous if misused.
Remember to be careful with bonfires too. It's much better to manage without one. But if you insist make sure it's well away from your house and any trees, hedges, fences or sheds.
Never use a flammable liquid like petrol or paraffin to get one going. If lighting your bonfire is difficult, use only domestic firelighters to help. Check very carefully that there's no animal (or even a young child) hidden inside the bonfire.
Don't light it until after all your fireworks have been let off. Keep everyone a safe distance away, and don't allow anyone to throw anything onto it.
Loose clothing (like shell-suits) can very easily catch alight and should never be worn near any fire. Long scarves can be risky too.
Remember Fireworks are explosives - get wise or get hurt!
The Police Service are solely responsible for enforcing the Fireworks Regulations 2004 which:
- prohibits private use of fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except New Years Day, Chinese New Year and Diwali when Fireworks are permitted up until midnight, and on Guy Fawkes night, when fireworks are permitted upto midnight;
- bans possession of fireworks by children;
- fireworks put in letter boxes or causing criminal damage;
- throwing fireworks in streets, or at individuals;
- fireworks set off within 25 metres of a main road.
There are laws dealing with the safety, storage and sale of fireworks that are enforced by Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards. They may be contacted on (01785) 277888.
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 changed the law and prohibits the sale of the noisiest fireworks and, in summary, prohibits private use of fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except New Years Day, Chinese New Year and Diwali when fireworks are permitted up until midnight, and on Guy Fawkes night, when fireworks are permitted up until midnight. The Police Service are solely responsible for enforcing these regulations.
Further information regarding the safe use of fireworks is available from the DirectGov.uk.