Firework warning ahead of celebrations


Release date: 3 November 2021

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is reminding people to stay safe around fireworks this autumn and not to put themselves, their family or their friends in danger.

With many communities preparing for the return of firework displays on Bonfire Night on November 5, and Diwali celebrations beginning on November 4, the fire service is reminding people to take extra care if they plan to mark the occasion with fireworks.

In the wrong hands, fireworks can cause serious injuries and destroy lives. You must be over 18 to buy fireworks and it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.

You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.

Nicki Peddle, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, urged people to enjoy fireworks responsibly. She said: “I know many of us are looking forward to attending a professionally organised firework display once again this year, after many events were cancelled this year. But for those people who are planning on holding a display at home, I would just urge caution.

“Every year, somewhere in the country, someone falls victim to an injury from a firework. And it’s something that could so easily be avoided.

“Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code.”

The Firework Code:

  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm (with the exception of Bonfire Night and Diwali when this is extended to midnight).
  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time.
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary.
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  • Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

If you do suffer a burn, ensure you:

  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag.
  • Call 999 if necessary. Always seek medical advice for a baby or child that has been burned.
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