Light the blue touch paper and step away

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to fireworks and bonfires. The fireworks code has been drummed into us for years but do we still take firework safety seriously?

The Royal College of Optometrists claims that 10 people a year lose their sight through fireworks, and in 2005 (the last year in which statistics were recorded) the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents found that almost 1,000 people were injured by fireworks.



The Law States ‘It is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in public places and an offence for anyone, other than a firework professional, to possess professional display fireworks.

Police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to those under the age of 18 caught with fireworks in a public place.

It is illegal to set off fireworks between 11 pm and 7 am. On 5 November, displays can continue until midnight and on certain occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, fireworks can be set off until 1 am.’

Bonfire safety should also be considered by following these simple guidelines:

Build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences and hedges

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire and never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended. An adult should supervise it until it has burnt out. If it has to be left, damp it down with plenty of water.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a hosepipe nearby in case of fire

The environmental impact of fireworks is often overlooked, they create a shower of toxic chemicals whenever they explode. For example aluminium produces the bright white colours, antimony sulphide produces the glittering shimmers. The bright blues are created by copper compounds, green colours are produced by barium nitrate. The red colours are manufactured using strontium. Sodium emits a strong yellow colour when it burns. Scientists have linked a number of these with health disorders.

I’m not saying that Fireworks should be banned but maybe there should be stricter controls on the sale and use of fireworks.

If you are concerned about a fire risk that may be a danger to life, please contact your local fire and community safety centre during normal office hours.

Or if you need advice on any Health and Safety matters please give us a call on 01908 632418 or email

Until next time

Sensible Safety Solutions Ltd