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Use of Fireworks – The Law

People on all sorts of occasions enjoy fireworks, but sometimes they can be misused, making them dangerous and a nuisance.

As a result of widespread concern and anti-social behaviour al use of fireworks, the government passed a new law in September 2003.

The Fireworks Act 2003 controls supply, possession and use and makes it an offence to set off Fireworks in a public space, and makes it an offence for anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place (other than a sparkler).

(A public place is anything other than your own property such as parks, the street or at School.)

In addition it is illegal to

  • Organise public display fireworks by anyone other than a firework professional.
  • Set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am – apart from on 5th November, Diwali, New Year's Eve and the Chinese New Year, when the curfew is extended to midnight.
  • It is illegal for shops to sell fireworks without an appropriate licence. Shopkeepers must also display a notice for customers, explaining the law.
  • There is a compulsory training course and a 120 decibel noise limit for all those organising large public displays.
  • If you misuse fireworks and break the law you could be fined or be issued with an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO).

Firework Safety
Fireworks and bonfires can be a lot of fun but if not handled properly they can be dangerous. Always follow the fireworks code and keep yourself and others safe.
When buying fireworks look for the safety standard BS7114 and check whether they are for use indoors, in their garden or for display.

The Fireworks Safety Code
Store fireworks in a sealed box or tin and out of the reach of children.
Use them one at a time, replacing the lid straight away.

  • NEVER put fireworks in your pocket.
  • Read the instructions carefully using a torch.
  • NEVER use a naked flame.
  • Light fireworks at an arm's length using a taper or firework lighter and always wear gloves.
  • Stand well back and NEVER return to a firework after it has been lit – it could explode in your face.
  • Ensure children are fully supervised.
  • NEVER throw or play with fireworks.
  • Keep all animals and pets indoors. You may have to keep your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.
  • Take care of sparklers, wear gloves and as soon as they are finished put them in a bucket of water.
  • Don't drink alcohol when setting off fireworks.
  • NEVER smoke near fireworks.

Bonfire Safety
Make sure the bonfire is in a safe place away from buildings and faces – secure the area and don't let children near.
Make sure there are no aerosol cans on or near the bonfire that could explode.

Before lighting your bonfire check there are no animals or children hiding inside.

  • NEVER use flammable liquids to light your bonfire.
  • Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving.
  • NEVER leave a bonfire unattended.
  • Have a hose or buckets of water on standby.
  • Try and go to an organised bonfire.

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