Fireworks and Bonfire Safety Advice
18th September 2015
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Listen, we love fireworks and bonfires. They really are spectacular and the memories will live on forever, but it's a serious event and people (and houses) can get seriously hurt and damaged. We've whittled down the most important and helpful information you need to know before you hold your own display.


A sparkler reaches temperatures of up to 2,000°C - over 15 times the boiling point of water and should be handled with care.

  • 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 - they can stay hot for a long time
  • Don't take sparklers to public displays as it will be too crowded to use them safely
  • Never give sparklers to under 5s as they won't understand how to use them safely
  • Teach children not to wave sparklers near anyone else or run while holding them


  • Before you buy, check your fireworks are suitable for the size of garden and conform to British Standards
  • Ensure your display area si free from hazards (large trees, etc)
  • Warn neighbours, especially the elderly and those with animals, about your display
  • One person, clearly identified, should be responsible for fireworks
  • Ensure you have a torch for reading instructions, protective gloves and eyewear, a bucket of water, a board for flat-bottomed fireworks and suitable supports for catherine wheels
  • Light fireworks at arm's length and stand well back. NEVER go back to a lit firework


Might sound obvious, but think about it. Do you really NEED a bonfire? It's much better to manage without one. If you feel that you MUST have one, follow these points:

  • Organise the bonfire properly, don't rush the idea
  • It should be at least 18 metres away from houses, trees, hedges, fences and sheds
  • Before lighting, check for animals and children
  • Never use petrol, paraffin or other flammable liquids
  • Never put used fireworks, aerosols, foam-filled furniture, batteries, tins of paint or tyres on a bonfire


We don't like to be party poopers, but this is serious stuff. Do you really want to risk burning yourself, others and possible your house for the sake of a few beers? People drink at 90% of fireworks parties and 84% said people setting off fireworks had drunk 2-3 units of alcohol. This increases the risk of injury and makes adults less able to supervise children properly during the display.

  • Never drink alcohol if you are in charge of lighting fireworks or bonfires
  • Keep gusts who are drinking alcohol well away from the display
  • Do not carry fireworks in your pocket to street parties or celebrations


Generally, pets hate bangs, flashes and loud noises. They can get very distressed, anxious and frightened on fireworks night, so always keep your furry (and non-furry) friends indoors and close the curtains to make things calmer. Remember it's not just your own fireworks that can cause distress, so keep your pets calm and indoors during the fireworks "season".

  • Play music or keep a television on to drown out the noise of fireworks
  • Keep all windows closed
  • Keep your pets entertained whilst you're out or having your own display with toys
  • Let your pet hide if it wants to take refuge under furniture or in a corner
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tag and is microchipped in case it bolts and becomes lost

Burn and safety advice

  • Cool a burn with cold water for 10 minutes
  • Never rub butter, oil or ointment into a burn
  • Cover the burn with clean, smooth, non-fluffy material (like clingfilm) to keep out infection until it can be properly dressed
  • If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material like a curtain
  • Unless the burn is very small, go to hospital
About the Author

Andrew M

Member since: 10th July 2012

The Best of Wimbledon and Merton helps to bring all the best local information to all local residents and businesses throughout Wimbledon and Merton. We also bring trusted businesses and the community...

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