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Seasonal safety advice

Find out how to remain safe on Bonfire night and when using fireworks.

Autumn and winter safety

If you’re looking to enjoy fireworks, we advise that you attend an organised display in order to reduce the risk of injury and fire.

This is traditionally a busy period of the year for the fire service, so please see our advice below about fireworks safety.

Fireworks safety

Fireworks are not just used on 5 November but also to celebrate a number of significant dates throughout the year including:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • Diwali
  • Chinese New Year
  • birthdays
  • weddings
  • other celebrations.

Always follow the fireworks code and:

  • stand well back
  • keep pets indoors - most animals get very scared from the lights and noise of fireworks
  • keep fireworks in a closed box
  • only buy fireworks that are CE marked
  • light at arm's length using a taper
  • follow the instructions on each firework
  • never give sparklers to a child under five
  • don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • always supervise children around fireworks and sparklers
  • light sparklers one at a time, and wear gloves
  • put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water
  • never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire
  • take care around bonfires
  • never go near a firework that has been lit - even if it hasn't gone off, as it could still explode.

For information about disposing of fireworks, please see West Sussex recycles.

If you don’t have your own garden or suitable area for letting off fireworks, big public spaces like beaches or parks could seem like the perfect place for a private display. However, laws in the UK ban all fireworks from being let off in a public place.

It is illegal to set off any fireworks in the street or in a public place; that includes sparklers.

Buying fireworks

Only buy fireworks from a licensed, reputable retailer you can trust and read the safety information detailed with the appropriate CE marking.

Fireworks and the law

There are laws about when fireworks can be sold and to who, as well as the times fireworks can be set off.

If you are under 18, you can't:

  • buy the types of fireworks which can be sold only to adults
  • have fireworks in public places.

If you do, the police can give you an on-the-spot fine of £80.

It is against the law to:

  • set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public places
  • set off fireworks between 11.00pm and 7.00am - except during certain celebrations.

If found guilty by the courts, you could be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to three months. You may be liable for an on-the-spot fine of £80.

During celebrations, you can let off fireworks:

  • until midnight on Bonfire night
  • until 1.00am on New Year's Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.

Further information on the law and when you can set off fireworks is available on GOV.UK.

Last updated:
1 November 2021
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