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Staying safe with fireworks

OPSS has produced safety guidance on how to use fireworks responsibly, protecting people and keeping animals away from harm.

Image of fireworks and message to read all safety instructions beforehand.

Staying safe with fireworks

OPSS has produced safety tips on how to use fireworks responsibly and considerately.

Only buy from licenced sellers

Make sure you buy fireworks from licenced in-store and online retailers. Do not buy fireworks from unknown retailers on social media sites. Remember it is illegal for under 18’s to buy fireworks.

Let fireworks off on traditional celebration dates and adhere to the fireworks curfew

People are more likely to plan to protect pets and other animals if fireworks are let off on traditional dates. The firework curfew is midnight on Fireworks Night, 1am on Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, and 11pm the rest of the year. Firework timings may differ in Scotland. Search ‘fireworks’ on for more advice.

Follow the instructions

Before letting off fireworks, read all the safety instructions on the box, so you know important things like how far away people need to stand. If you do not understand the instructions and warnings, do not use the firework. Once any debris has cooled down, tidy it up and soak it in water overnight. Then put it in a rubbish bag and in the bin.

Understand what fireworks you can use at home

Category F1, F2 and F3 fireworks are on sale to the public. A consumer firework will fall into either category F2 or F3 depending on how much of a safety distance it requires. Check you have enough space to safely use a firework before you buy it. Category information can be found on the label.

Always follow the Firework Code. Search ‘fireworks’ on GOV.UK for more advice.

Be considerate to animals when letting off fireworks

If you plan to let off any fireworks, let your neighbours know in advance so they can plan for pets that might be affected.

If you live close to horses, let their owners know well in advance that you are letting fireworks off. Site your fireworks well away from them and aim them in the opposite direction. It is important to be considerate to horse owners as they cannot easily move horses away from fireworks.

Notify nearby farms and stables if you are planning to use fireworks. Do not let off fireworks if they will disturb wildlife habitats, or roosting bats and birds.

Keep pets safe

On nights where fireworks are being let off, keep dogs and cats inside with somewhere to hide and give small outdoor pets extra bedding and nesting material to burrow in.

Download digital images for use on social media from our My Safety: Fireworks guidance page.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is partnering with Chartered Trading Standards Institute, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Child Accident Prevention Trust, British Fireworks Association, Association of Convenience Stores, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, British Horse Society, British Veterinary Association, Kennel Club, Wood Green, Welsh Government, Health and Safety Executive, Association for Science Education, Home Office, and Fire and Rescue Services to raise awareness on how to use fireworks safely and considerately.

Published 11 October 2021