Fireworks and bonfires
Be a bright spark
It can be a tricky choice to know which fireworks to buy, from catherine wheels, sparklers, firecrackers to roman candles there's so much choice – but the only criteria on your list should be that fireworks you buy have a CE mark on them. This basically means that they are legally safe and meet all of the regulations by law to be set off.
If you buy fireworks that do not have this marking on them, you should never set them off, and instead should immediately report this to Trading Standards who will take the matter further.
Having your own display at home can be fun, but here are four reasons why it's a good idea to go to an organised display
- There are safe places to spectate which have been risk assessed by professionals
- Fireworks are set off by trained people
- Organised events have procedures in place should there be an emergency
- They are more spectacular
Top firework safety tips
- Keep all fireworks and bonfires away from houses, sheds, fences, and trees as bonfires can spread easily.
- Always keep a bucket of water handy to dispose of sparklers.
- Never give sparklers to children under the age of five years old, and make sure you wear gloves when using them.
- Keep all pets inside and away from bonfires and fireworks.
- Only adults should set off fireworks, so keep them out of reach from children at all times.
- Never go back to a firework after it has been lit, even if it hasn't gone off, there is still a danger that it will.
If you are having a bonfire, whether it's to get rid of garden waste or part of a celebration, like Halloween, take care. Follow the simple tips below to make sure you, and others, are safe.
Building a bonfire
Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important. If you have a bonfire follow these simple guidelines:
- Warn your neighbours beforehand - they are much less likely to complain
- Light the bonfire at a time least likely to affect your neighbours - for example, not on a warm day when people will be in their garden.
- Only burn dry material not damp, which causes more smoke.
- Build the bonfire away from sheds, fences, and trees.
- Check there are no cables, like telephone wires, above the bonfire.
- Don't use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going as it may get out of control quickly.
- As a rule of thumb, the bonfire should be a minimum of five times its height from the property.
Bonfire safety tips
Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case of emergencies.
- Don't leave the bonfire unattended.
- Keep children and pets away from the bonfire.
- Don't throw any fireworks into the fire.
- Don't burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint - many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury.
Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it from reigniting.
Getting rid of your garden waste without a bonfire
You can get rid of your garden waste without making a bonfire. Most garden waste, like grass cuttings and leaves, can be recycled by composting. Your local council may also run a garden waste collection scheme.