Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes Night (5th November) is the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes tried and failed to blow up the houses of parliament in the gunpowder plot. The anniversary of this failed plot is marked with bonfires and fireworks displays in public places, paid for events and those in peoples back garden. Fireworks have also become common for Halloween, Diwali, New Year and the Chinese New Year. Fireworks parties can be fun if safety rules are followed. Remember that fireworks are actually types of explosives and can cause severe injuries if they are not handled safely.
Safety on fireworks
- Never play with fireworks – Fireworks can be so exciting and fun but they can also be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal if handled in the wrong way.
- Keep a bucket of water and a hose by the bonfire in case of emergencies.
- Used fireworks and sparklers can be placed into the bucket for safety.
- Only buy fireworks marked with the BS7114 kite mark. Never put fireworks or sparklers in your pocket. Store them in a cool, dry box and always close the lid. Fireworks should not be sold to any person under the age of 18.
- Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it has not gone off, it could still explode. Never throw discarded fireworks onto bonfires, they may still have gunpowder left in them and will only result in accidents.
- Don’t throw fireworks at anyone or anything. Follow the instructions carefully and light them a good distance away from people
Fireworks and the law
- It is against the law in the UK to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on Guy Fawkes Night, when the curfew is extended to midnight and New Year’s Eve when the curfew is extended to 1am
- It is against the law in the UK to buy or use “adult” fireworks if you are under the age of 18. Category 2 and 3 fireworks are available for public purchase by people 18 years and above and must be operated by a person aged 18 or above.
- Sparklers and party poppers are classified as fireworks but fall outside of the category of “adult” firework and so it is not illegal for a child to hold a sparkler or set off a party popper, but must be purchased by a person 18 or above.
- Fireworks can only be purchased for private use in the UK from registered sellers between these dates:
- 15 October to 10 November
- 26 to 31 December
- 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
- Any time outside of these times, fireworks can only be purchased at licensed firework retailers.
- In the UK, you can be fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned for three months for buying or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £80.
Remember to enjoy watching fireworks but stay safe and respect and understand the safety for yourself and everyone around you.