Bonfire and firework information

by Adrian Waters

The risk of damage to your property from either fireworks or bonfires is great. But following our simple precautions you should be able to reduce the likelihood of making a home insurance claim. However first insuring you're protected with home insurance is vital in protecting yourself from the unexpected.


Don't let your bonfire get out of control, keep it attended at all times, and make sure it doesn't grow to unsafe proportions.

It's important to plan your bonfire before you begin. Bonfires should always be built in the open, well away from buildings, sheds, fences, and hedges. They should never be positioned under trees or overhead cables.

Take extreme caution when lighting your bonfire it can be highly dangerous. Before lighting a bonfire, the area should be carefully checked for hidden aerosol cans and gas cylinders, as these will explode violently when heated. Petrol or paraffin should never be used to light a bonfire and a hose or bucket of water should be ready for immediate use, just in case. Once extinguished, pour water on the fire’s embers before you leave, to make sure it is all out.


Why not attend a public display?

It is usually far safer for people to attend organised firework displays. Not to mention that they're usually cheaper and a better display. If you must buy fireworks for private displays - such as those held in back gardens, or at the workplace – you should always rigorously follow the Fireworks Code.

Don't drink and light. Remember, anyone with responsibility for igniting fireworks or supervising bonfires should never mix their task with alcohol consumption. It’s a potentially lethal cocktail and an accident literally waiting to happen.

Keep children safe

Very special care is needed where young children are concerned. Sparklers cause many injuries to youngsters every year. Sparklers burn with an intense, white heat and so children are very vulnerable to injury from them. Always make them wear thick gloves when handling sparklers, and ensure that they hold them well away from their face and from other children.

Never leave children unattended when they are holding sparklers, and once the fireworks have finished burning, douse them quickly in a bucket of water, as they remain very hot even when burned-out.

Follow the firework code

  • Remember: The age limit for buying fireworks is 18.
  • ALL bangers are illegal for general sale.
  • Don’t buy fireworks if they are not marked as meeting BS 7114. They could be illegal imports.
  • Don’t attempt to use professional high-power fireworks, such as those used in organised displays. To the untrained, they are as lethal as hand grenades.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box, take them out one at a time and put the top back on straight away.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework carefully - read them by torchlight and never by naked flame
  • Light the end of the firework’s fuse at arm’s length, preferably with a safety firework lighter or fuse wick
  • Never throw fireworks
  • Don’t let off fireworks in a street or public place - It’s not only dangerous, it’s also an offence.
  • Stand well back and never return to a firework once lit - it may go off in your face
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Never fool with fireworks!

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