Fireworks are a traditional part of enjoying celebrations such as Bonfire Night or New Year but they cause of hundreds of serious accidents every year.
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to go to a professionally organised event.
If you buy fireworks, make sure they are marked for 'Indoor, Garden or Display' use.
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 prohibits:
- Anyone under 18 years from possessing fireworks in a public place
- Anyone except professionals from possessing display fireworks
- Any fireworks that detonate at a higher level than 120 decibels
- The use of fireworks at night (11pm - 7am) in England and Wales. There are, however, extensions for the use of fireworks at night for the following festivals:
- Chinese New Year - until 1am on the night
- Diwali - until 1am on the night
- New Year's Eve - until 1am on the night
- Bonfire Night - until midnight
- Air bombs are banned and there are new strict controls on mini-rockets.
Organising public displays
Professionally organised displays are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
- Organising firework displays - HSE website
Greater Manchester retailers selling fireworks must be licensed with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service ( GMFRS )
Advice on ensuring that your fireworks comply with product safety legislation can be found on the Business Companion website;
- Storage and supply of fireworks - Business Companion website
Oldham Trading Standards would always advise that you follow a Challenge 25 policy to help ensure that fireworks are not sold to persons under the legal age. Advice on avoiding underage sales can be found at:
- Fireworks: age restrictions - Business Companion website
Blank refusals books can be found at:
- Refusals Register - No Sale, No ID website - PDF
Avoid causing a risk of nuisance to neighbours
- Tell your neighbours of your plans
- Use appropriate fireworks - when buying fireworks, try to avoid noisy ones in sensitive locations.
- Make sure pets and other animals are safely away from fireworks.
- If you are using fireworks for a celebration, a Friday or Saturday is preferable and make sure they are over by 11pm.
- Avoid letting off fireworks in unsuitable weather
- Let off your fireworks in an open garden area - noise bounces off buildings and smoke and pollution can build up in enclosed spaces.
If a neighbour complains that you are disturbing them, their pets or livestock, be considerate.
- Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin and 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
- Take care of sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished
- 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
- 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 and scarves) can very easily catch fire and should not be worn near the bonfire