Use fireworks safely

It’s only legal for most retailers to sell fireworks at certain times of the year – and only if they have a valid licence. Find out more about safe selling and storage.

Fireworks are dangerous, but your safety isn’t the only thing you’re risking if you mess around with them. Watch  our Bonfire campaign video for 2020:


Our advice for a safe and enjoyable fireworks display

  • Only adults should light fireworks and safely dispose of them once they’ve been used.
  • Plan in advance and warn your neighbours about your display.
  • Buy your fireworks from a reputable licensed retailer and check that the fireworks are CE marked.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time.
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework, using a torch if necessary.
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them. Throwing fireworks is illegal – you could have to pay a £5000 fine.
  • Direct fireworks well away from spectators.
  • Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix. Never drink alcohol while lighting fireworks and keep people who are drinking a safe distance away.

Did you know that sparklers reach temperatures of over 2,000°C? That’s over 15 times the boiling point of water.

To use them safely:

  • store them in a cool, dry place
  • light them one at a time and wear gloves
  • plunge sparklers hot end first into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out

Supervise children and show them how to hold their sparkler safely away from their bodies. Teach them not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run while holding them.

Children younger than 5 should never be given sparklers.


Bonfires must be at least 18 metres (60 feet) away from houses, trees, hedges, fences and sheds. They should always be lit and supervised by adults.

Check that no animals are inside before lighting your bonfire.

Never use:

  • petrol or paraffin
  • fireworks (including used ones)
  • aerosols
  • foam-filled furniture
  • batteries
  • tins of paint
  • tyres

Afterwards, make sure that the fire is fully out before leaving.

Chinese lanterns

When lighting Chinese lanterns, always consider the local environment for the launch site and intended flight path.

Our advice is:

  • don’t drink alcohol while using lanterns
  • have water on hand in case the lanterns catch fire
  • keep the launch area clear of flammable or combustible materials
  • never use broken or damaged lanterns
  • launch lanterns clear of trees, power lines or buildings
  • avoid launching near roads, especially major roads or motorways
  • do not launch within five miles of an airport
  • do not launch in wind speeds higher than 5 miles per hour
  • check the wind direction before you launch