It’s hard not to get excited about Bonfire Night, but here’s a quick reminder on how to make sure it’s family-friendly with our firework safety tips

In just a few days, November 5th will be upon us. In the sustained sugar rush between Halloween treats and the traditional toffee apples of bonfire night, children are bursting with excitement. So, embrace your inner child and let’s get ready to ooh and ahh and be safe.

You’ll want bonfire night at home to go off with a bang but fireworks can reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour, and sparklers can reach temperatures 15 times boiling point. So, it’s important to consider safety as well as making sure your family has a good time and make sure you know the rules.

First things first – check you follow the rules.

  • You cannot buy ‘adult’ fireworks if you’re under 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions.
  • Adult fireworks are category 2 and 3 fireworks - they do not include things like party poppers.
  • Check with your council to find out about any local rules for setting off fireworks, or check the following sites for advice:
    England and Wales Northern Ireland Scotland

To help you get prepared, check our top 10 fireworks safety tips:

  1. Check your garden is suitable
    There are minimum safety distance guidelines for fireworks. These vary considerably so check the packaging before you purchase fireworks for your display.

  2. Store your fireworks in a closed box, away from naked flames
    In the run-up to the night itself, make sure the box is kept in a cool and dry place, out of the reach of children.

  3. Buy your fireworks from a trusted supplier/store
    Only buy fireworks that are CE marked. Fireworks that do not carry this mark may not be safe to use.

  4. If you’re setting off the fireworks, don’t drink alcohol until afterwards
    You should use a torch so you can clearly see the fireworks instructions in the dark.

  5. Only set fireworks off one at a time
    Never return to one that you’ve lit, even if you think it needs lighting again.

  6. Never pour petrol or paraffin onto your bonfire
    Also, make sure that everyone stays well back.

  7. Consider smoke
    If smoke from your bonfire could potentially blow onto a nearby road you may need to rethink your plans. You could put people’s lives at risk and face a fine.

  8. Never leave a bonfire unsupervised
    You need to wait until it’s completely extinguished before you head indoors. To stop it reigniting, pour plenty of water on it.

  9. Never mess around with fireworks
    Throwing a firework is very dangerous and you could be fined £5,000 if something goes wrong.

  10. Supervise children at all times, especially when handling sparklers
    You should make sure they’re wearing gloves, holding the sparklers at arm’s length and that any long hair is tied back. One useful trick for younger children is to stick the sparkler in a carrot to make it easier and safer to hold.

Also, make sure you fully extinguish sparklers in a bucket of water before throwing them away.

Think about your pets

As well as considering the safety of the people who’ll be attending your party, you need to protect your pets too.

Cats and dogs can become very distressed on and around bonfire night, as celebrations can often continue for several days. Try to take them for early walks before it gets dark and make sure they’re kept inside in a secure room in the evening.

They might also benefit from having a radio or TV on in the room to drown out the noise of the fireworks and if you can, have someone sit with them to reassure them that things are okay.

If you have rabbits or guinea pigs, it’s sensible to move their hutches into a garage or other quiet place.

Is your home covered?

A stray firework can break your window, set your shed or fence on fire, or damage your roof. It could also cause damage to a neighbouring property and you need to make sure that you’re covered if someone gets injured.

So, do check your home insurance policy – most of the details will be in your policy booklet, if you’re unsure ask your insurer to check and let you know what your policy includes.

Our advice would be to attend an organised event if you can rather than risking your safety by having your own bonfire or fireworks display.

We hope you have a happy and safe bonfire night.