Bonfire & Firework Safety from Scottish Fire & Rescue
4th November 2013
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Bonfire Safety

Scottish Fire & Rescue would always suggest that you attend an official organised display, but if you are planning a bonfire, their page will help keep you and your guests safe.

Alcohol and fire don’t mix

Do not go near bonfires or fireworks whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Some individuals may be tempted to ignore local bye-laws and drink alcohol in public places. This could lead to Police issuing a fixed penalty ticket or a report being sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Bonfire Safety Tips

Advice from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is to attend a safely organised bonfire and firework display. However if you must have a bonfire at home make sure it is well away from buildings, vehicles, trees, hedges, fences, power lines, telecommunications equipment and sheds  - and you must ensure that smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours or flying embers endanger neighbouring property.

Never drink alcohol if you are tending a bonfire or setting off fireworks – remember it is an offence to consume alcohol in a public place.

To reduce the emission of harmful smoke and combustion products bonfires should comprise of untreated wood and paper based materials only.

There is a danger of explosion from pressurised containers or sealed vessels amongst bonfire material or irresponsibly thrown on burning bonfires.

Never throw fireworks on bonfires.

Never use flammable liquids to ignite bonfires – use proprietary fire lighters.

Smoke from bonfires must not pose a public nuisance, affect visibility on roads or otherwise inconvenience vehicles.

Sparks, flying embers or burning debris must not endanger nearby property.

Never leave a burning/smouldering bonfire unsupervised – make sure it is completely extinguished.

Any bonfire failing to satisfy safety conditions or where people are behaving irresponsibly may be deemed dangerous and as such, subject to being either removed, extinguished or otherwise made safe.

Bonfires and the Law

It is an offence under Section 56 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for any person to lay or light a fire in a public place so as to endanger any other person or give them reasonable cause for alarm or annoyance or so as to endanger any property.

If you know anything about fires that have been started deliberately in your area, you can call the Crimestoppers Scotland hotline on 0800 555 111. All calls are completely anonymous and do not require names or personal details and you will not be asked to give evidence in court.

Fly tipping during the Bonfire and Fireworks season is a major cause of fire and it is also a criminal offence. If you see fly tipping or know of an area where there is a build-up of refuse or combustible material, contact your local authority cleansing or environmental department to arrange uplift.

You can also contact the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line on 0845 2 30 40 90 or visit for more information.

Organising a fireworks and bonfire display

If you are organising a display visit  for guidance and practical advice.

Stay Safe When Using Fireworks...

Fireworks Safety

Watching fireworks can be great fun for children. However, figures show that, more often than not, it’s children rather than adults who are injured by fireworks.

Remember - it's always best to attend an organised display.

Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some as young as one year old, were treated in hospital for firework injuries. Be safe and always follow the fireworks code.

For further information about fireworks and the Fireworks Code visit

Children - including babies and toddlers - suffer over half of all firework injuries and many of these are babies and toddlers. Children's scars may heal but the trauma for them and their parents can last for years.

We want children to enjoy fireworks but they need to know that they can be dangerous.
Children under five

Never give sparklers to under-fives.

Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand.

Always supervise young children closely.

All children

Supervise all children carefully and keep them well back from the bonfire and fireworks.

Show older children how to hold sparklers - away from their body and at arm's length - and teach them not to wave them at other people or run while holding them.

Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes that could catch alight easily, and give children gloves to wear when holding sparklers.

Steer clear of alcohol if you're running a display or looking after kids.

Sparkle safely

Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? Sparklers are not toys and should never be given to a child under five.

Store sparklers and other fireworks in a closed box in a cool, dry place.

Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.

Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand.

Plunge finished sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out. Remember, sparklers can stay hot for a long time.

Don't take sparklers to public displays. It will be too crowded to use them safely.
In an emergency

Cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes.

Cut around material sticking to the skin - don't pull it off.

Don't touch the burn or burst any blisters.

Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material - clingfilm is ideal - to prevent infection.

If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material like a curtain.

Get advice from your doctor or accident and emergency department at your local hospital.

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