Fireworks night should be a fun family occasion. But there is legislation in place to ensure that people don’t get hurt. Here’s what you need to know.
• Under-18s are not allowed to buy or carry fireworks (including sparklers)
• It is an offence to tamper with or modify fireworks
• You can only buy fireworks (including sparklers) from registered sellers for private use on these dates:
• At other times, you can only buy fireworks from licensed shops
• You are not allowed to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am – except for on Bonfire night (when the cut off is mid-night), New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year (when the cut off is 1am)
• Category 1 (indoor), Category 2 (garden) and Category 3 (display) fireworks can be purchased and used by anyone over the age of 18. Category 4 (professional) fireworks are available only to professionals.
• It is illegal to set off fireworks or sparklers in the street or in a public place.
• Those caught selling or using fireworks illegally can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months. You may also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.
Additionally, your council may have local rules regarding fireworks. Check with your council to find out whether any affect you.
• Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time
• Read and follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch if necessary
• 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
• Don’t put fireworks in pockets and don’t throw them
• Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators
In addition to these, we’ll add a couple of our own to the list:
• Don’t drink any alcohol until after all the fireworks have been set off
• Make sure you wear eye protection and gloves
• Keep a bucket or two of water on hand
• Keep dogs and cats inside when fireworks are being let off
• Walk your dog early in the day – before fireworks are being launched
• Close windows and doors to keep noise to a minimum; lock cat flaps to prevent your pet getting out
• Create a “den” or a safe space where your pet will feel secure and comfortable.
• Leave your pet to it – whether it’s pacing, whining, barking, meowing or hiding, your pet is just trying to find safety
• Stay calm and act normally, giving lots of praise. If your pet responds well to strokes and cuddles, do it. If your pet would rather be left alone, don’t pester it.
• Avoid leaving your pet alone when fireworks are being set off.
• Don’t get angry with your pet if they act destructively or soil themselves. They are acting from fear, and chastising them will only further stress them.
• Do tell your neighbours beforehand if you’re planning to have a bonfire
• Do keep children and pets away from your fire
• Do ensure a responsible adult is present the entire time the fire is burning
• Do build your bonfire away from any sheds, fences or trees
• Do spray embers with water to ensure the fire has been completely extinguished
• Don’t light a bonfire near a road – smoke may drift across and make driving dangerous
• Don’t burn household waste – it can cause pollution and potentially harm people’s health. This applies especially to aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint
• Don’t use petrol or paraffin to get a bonfire going
• Don’t light a bonfire beneath cables such as telephone lines
• Don’t leave your bonfire unattended
• Don’t burn damp materials since they will cause excessive amounts of smoke
If someone has lit a bonfire that you deem to be a nuisance, contact the police. The fine for building a nuisance fire is up to £5,000.
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