29 October 2014

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service is advising people how to stay safe this Bonfire Night.

When organising a firework display or bonfire night party for family, friends or the general public, the brigade says it’s vital to take the utmost care in firework storage, handling and use, as well as lighting and managing bonfires safely.

Baz Fox, Prevention and Community Protection Manager for Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. We want everyone to have a safe event, and by following some simply rules the risks can be greatly reduced.

“In the interest of safety we recommend that people attend an officially organised bonfire and firework display, rather than have a bonfire in their own garden or let off their own fireworks.

“Fireworks can be fun, but they are not toys and every year we have incidents and casualties because people have been careless or misused them. It’s important to remember that a firework is basically a pretty explosive device.”

The Firework Code

  • Only buy fireworks marked as conforming to BS 7114. Be wary of any cheap products being sold by unlicensed sellers, they can be dangerous.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when setting off fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on each firework. Read them by torchlight - NEVER a naked flame.
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick.
  • NEVER go back to a firework once lit – it may go off in your face.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Keep a bucket of water handy.
  • Used fireworks should be collected after the display with care. Douse them with water, dispose of them properly in a metal container.
  • Wear a protective hat, gloves and have eye protection, such as goggles.
  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Don’t let fireworks off after 11pm, your neighbours may not appreciate it.


Sparklers are often viewed as a less harmful firework, but experts say that they can get six times as hot as a pan of cooking oil. They burn fiercely and are not suitable for children under the age of five.

If you buy sparklers, store them in a closed box in a cool, dry place. Sparklers are not suitable to take to public displays, as it’s often too crowded to use them safely.

  • To enjoy sparklers safely:
    Always wear gloves.
  • Adults should light them for children.
  • Hold them at arm’s length.
  • Don’t run about whilst holding a sparkler.
  • Don’t hold a sparkler whilst carrying a child in your arms.
  • When it has gone out, put it in a bucket of water.


If you are lighting a bonfire in connection with a fireworks display, then:

  • Let your neighbours know about your bonfire beforehand, so they are aware.
  • Site it well away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs, and before lighting the fire check that no pets or children are hiding inside it.
  • Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side.
  • Only burn dry and uncontaminated material. Damp wood will produce more smoke and old pallets may have chemical spills soaked in.
  • NEVER use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire. Don’t burn foam-filled furniture, aerosols, and tins of paint due to the harmful omissions.
  • Don’t throw fireworks onto the bonfire.
  • Don’t leave the bonfire unattended.
  • Keep everyone a safe distance away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised all the time.
  • In case of an emergency keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.
  • Pour water on the embers of the fire before leaving.