Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Our Mission: Safer Stronger Communities - Safe Effective Firefighters.

Fireworks Advice

Fireworks cause hundreds of injuries every year

In 1994-98 three people died and over 6,000 people required hospital treatment as a result of fireworks injuries. There were 831 injuries in 1998 alone, most occurring at private parties; 226 injuries resulted from incidents in the street and other public places; while 132 injuries occurred at large public fireworks displays.

A simple sparkler reaches a temperature of up to 2,000�C - over 15 times the boiling point of water. A rocket can travel up to 2.4km (150 miles) _per hour. All kinds of fireworks need handling with extreme care.

Firework safety and publicity are the responsibility of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), who work in partnership with the Home Office at strategic level.

On the ground, the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, Police, Trading Standards Authority and Environmental Health Officers work together to enforce regulations and get safety advice over to the public.

Firework safety is normally an issue at specific times of the year - when fireworks are widely available, for example Chinese New Year, Diwali and Bonfire Night. The scheduling of prevention initiatives is therefore likely to coincide with these.

The Firework Code

  • Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin
  • Use them one at a time, replacing the lid immediately
  • NEVER put fireworks in your pocket
  • Read the instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp
  • NEVER use a naked flame
  • Light fireworks at arms length using a taper or a firework lighter
  • Stand well back and NEVER return to a firework after it has been lit, it could explode in your face
  • Ensure that all children with fireworks are well supervised
  • NEVER throw fireworks
  • Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Keep all pets and animals indoors
  • Take care with sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished.


  • It is an offence (punishable by fine) to let fireworks off in a public place.
  • It is also an offence (also punishable by fine) for anyone under the age of 18 to be in possession of a firework (other than a sparkler) in a public place.
  • A public place is anywhere other than your back garden, and includes streets, parks and playgrounds - in fact any place members of the public have access to at the time, whether or not an admission fee is payable.
  • It is illegal to let fireworks off during night hours (11pm to 7am), except on Bonfire Night (until midnight), Diwali, New Year, and Chinese New Year (until 1am).
  • It is illegal for shopkeepers to break open retail packets of fireworks and sell them individually. This is because the instructions are printed on the packet and not on the individual fireworks.
  • Pets get very frightened on fireworks night, so keep all your pets indoors and close all the curtains to make things calmer. Remember it's not just your own fireworks that cause distress, so you may have to have your pets indoors on several nights when other displays are taking place.
  • Before lighting your bonfire, check that there are no animals (or children!) inside.

Statistics and fire facts

The national statistics on fireworks injuries are collected during a four-week period. This includes the three weeks when fireworks are on sale prior to Bonfire Night and ends at the weekend after Bonfire Night. Individual fire services should use their own experiences and the statistics for their areas to tell them which issues are the most important for them locally.

Firework Injuries in Great Britain 2001
4 Week Period in October - November

Place of Accident No.
Family or private party 598
Semi public party (e.g. scouts, club) 73
Large public display 158
Casual incident in street or other public place 442
Indoors 17
Other 40
Not Specified 34
Type of Firework No.
Banger 114
Rocket 264
Air Bomb 102
Roman Candle 120
Sparkler 136
Other proprietary fireworks 117
Home made or extracted powder 14
Not known (not bonfires) 494
Not Specified 1
Outcome of Injury No.
No further treatment required 498
Referred to G.P. 129
Referred to out-patient dept. of this or other hospital 469
Detained in this hospital for at least one night 70
Transferred to another hospital 73
Died 0
Not known 115
Not Specified 8
Age Group of Injured Persons No.
Over 20 years 508
18 - 20 67
13 - 17 337
Under 13 450
Not Known 0
Total Eye Injuries 372
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