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Bonfire and Fireworks Safety

Fireworks should be enjoyable and spectacular occasions. However each year, hundreds of people are injured through the misuse of fireworks with half of incidents involve children causing injuries to hands, eyes and face. Good planning is essential for firework displays of any size. If you are thinking of a fireworks display this year, you should consider the following:


  • Only buy fireworks from a legitimate retailer     
  • Check that fireworks are suitable for the size of the venue and conform to British Standards (BS)
  • Read instructions in daylight
  • Nominate one person to be responsible for the fireworks
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks

  • Tell your neighbours about the event in advance – firework can be a considered a nuisance and can cause considerable distress to animals
  • If you are holding a public firework display it is a good idea (although it is not required by health and safety law) to have public liability insurance that specifically covers the event and the use of fireworks        

  • Light fireworks at arm’s length using a taper or firework lighter

  • Stand well back

  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if they haven’t gone off it could still explode

  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them

  • Always supervise children around fireworks

  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves

  • Never give sparklers to a child under five



Planning a Public Fireworks Display or Bonfire


If you are planning to hold a public bonfire and fireworks display, it is essential that you consider a number of points to help ensure that the event is operated safely. The key things to consider include:


  • Ensure that bonfires are constructed safely and unlikely to fall
  • Before lighting a bonfire – ensure that no children or animals are inside
  • Ensure that bonfires are built away from any buildings and combustible materials including fences, trees and hedges – up to 18 metres separation is recommended
  • Ensure that a bonfire is supervised at all times and that spectators cannot gain access to the bonfire area
  • Consider wind direction – drifting smoke from bonfires and fireworks can cause difficulties for motorists and spectators
  • Set aside a suitable area for firework debris to fall – a minimum safety distance should be marked on the label
  • Keep the ‘fall-out’ area clear
  • Never leave a fire unattended, or leave it to smoulder overnight - make sure it is completely out


South Staffordshire Council have been working in partnership with colleagues from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Staffordshire County Council Trading Standards and have put together a brief information pack which provides further guidance to help you plan and hold a safe and enjoyable bonfire and fireworks display.



Fireworks and The Law


There is a ban on the use of fireworks between the hours of 11pm and 7am, with the following exemptions:


  • can be used up to midnight on the 5th November,

  • can be used up to 1am the following day on New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year and Diwali


It is an offence to set off or throw fireworks in the street or in other public places. If found guilty you are liable to a fine of up to £5,000, similar penalties apply if animals are found to be deliberately targeted by fireworks.






Any queries with regard to the supply of fireworks to unlicensed retailers, underage sale, storage and transportation of fireworks should be forwarded to the Trading Standards Team at Staffordshire County Council on:


Tel: 08454 040506 Email:


Further information and advice can be found at:


  • Health & Safety Executive website Fireworks Section

  • Staffordshire County Council – Take Care and Be Aware

  • Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

  • Firework safety and the law document

  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) – Firework Safety

  • Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) – Safety & Successful Fireworks Displays, which includes information on planning a Bonfire






Food & Safety Team

Telephone: 01902 696220


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