Bonfire night & fireworks advice

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Blinding night fireworks

Another blinding night?

The consequences of misusing fireworks can be irreversible and can destroy the lives of you and your family. We understand that fireworks are a traditional part of Bonfire Night celebrations, but they are dangerous explosives and cause many serious accidents every year.

Please read our advice below and remember the safest way to enjoy them is to go to a professionally organised event.

Fireworks and the law

It is illegal:

  • To let off any fireworks in a public place- this carries a fine of up to £5000. We may also issue an £80 Fixed Penalty Notice. 
  • To set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am (Bonfire night extended until 12 midnight).
  • For a member of the public to possess a “display” style firework (Category 4 fireworks, can only be used by professionals).
  • To cause unnecessary suffering to animals with fireworks. Maximum penalty £5000 and/or six months in prison.
  • To sell bangers, mini rockets, fireworks that fly erratically (Squibs, helicopters etc), aerial shells and maroons.
  • To store fireworks for private use for more than 14 days
  • To sell fireworks to anyone under 18 years of age. Maximum penalty - £5000 and/or six months in prison.

We have the power to stop and search anyone suspected of carrying fireworks. All fireworks sold to the public must comply to British Safety Standard BS 7114.

Don’t let firework injuries rocket!!

Fireworks are explosives. Respect them.

Devon & Cornwall Police are encouraging those celebrating Guy Fawkes night to remember that fireworks are explosives and should be respected.

Traditionally, more children than adults get injured by fireworks and there are approximately 1,000 injuries each year in the UK.

Fireworks are explosives and burn at high temperatures, so they need careful handling and storage.

In particular, sparklers can reach temperatures more than 15 times as hot as boiling water and five times hotter than cooking oil.

By following our advice you can minimise harm to your family and friends.

Bombs Shells And Rockets Poster

Devon & Cornwall Police’s tips for staying safe.

  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Never throw used fireworks, paraffin or petrol, on a bonfire.
  • Take care around bonfires, especially keeping clothing away.
  • Make sure bonfires are out and surroundings are safe before leaving.
  • Misfired or partly used fireworks should be soaked in a container of water and the manufacturer should be contacted for advice on disposal.
  • Keep pets indoors as most animals are scared by the bright lights and noise.
  • Supervise children with sparklers and never give them to a child under five.
  • Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  • Put used sparklers, hot end down, into a bucket of sand or water.
  • There are laws about fireworks, particularly if you are under 18, you cannot buy fireworks or have them in a public place.
  • If caught, the police can give you an on-the-spot fine of £80.

If you are putting on your own display.....

  1. Only one person should be responsible for letting off fireworks.
  2. Don’t drink alcohol if you are setting off fireworks.
  3. Light fireworks at arm’s length, using a taper.
  4. Make sure everyone stands well back.
  5. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  6. Direct any rocket fireworks well away from people.
  7. NEVER go back to a firework that has been lit even if it has not gone off it could still explode.
  8. Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or with a CE mark from a reputable seller. This shows that the firework meets British or European Safety standards.
  9. Follow the instructions on each firework and use a torch to read it.
  10. Make suitable supports and launchers if you’re setting off Catherine wheels or rockets.

You will need....

  • A closed metal box to store the fireworks-take them out one at a time.
  • A bucket of water for sparklers and small fires.
  • Eye protection and gloves.
  • A bucket of earth to stick fireworks in.

On Bonfire Night, November 5, you can let off fireworks until midnight.

On New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, until 1am.

It's the law: It is an offence to let off Fireworks between the hours of 11pm and 7am on any other day.

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