Quick Guide to Organising a Fireworks Display

Millions are planning a bonfire night party to add some sparkle to their November 5 celebrations.

Just under half (42%) the country will celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, and nearly one in five of these (18%) will celebrate with a private bonfire or firework display at home.

Private firework displays in a public space are illegal and need a dispensation from the local council. A million partygoers will break this law.

Although most displays will go off without a problem, the country is likely to face a £1.5 billion bill for damaged homes and property from pranks and fireworks going wrong over Halloween and Bonfire, equal to around £273 for each affected property, according to figures from Santander home insurance.

Anyone organising a public fireworks display should consider public liability insurance to cover the risk of damage to property or injury to spectators, suggests the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

People letting off fireworks should only handle category one to three fireworks – category 4 fireworks may only be used by professional firework display operators because the explosives are dangerous in inexperienced hands.

Other precautions, according to the HSE, should include:

  • Consider if the site is suitable and large enough for the display and bonfire. Think about things like if there is space for fireworks to land away from spectators. Check for overhead power lines and other obstructions. Do not forget the prevailing wind will carry the fireworks and fan a bonfire and to have a plan if the direction changes
  • Have an emergency plan and someone who can help with first aid and controlling a fire if something goes wrong.
  • Buy fireworks from a reputable supplier.
  • Store and light fireworks safely
  • Do not let anyone into the firework zone other than the display operator or firing
  • Do not let spectators bring their own fireworks
  • Check children or animals are not hiding inside the bonfire before lighting
  • Do not light or stoke the fire with petrol or paraffin

After the event, do not leave fireworks around to relight and damp down bonfire before leaving the site.

Find out more about organising firework displays on the HSE site

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