Fireworks safety in Oxfordshire on 5th November

As Bonfire Night approaches, Oxfordshire County Council is reminding residents that the safest way to celebrate is to attend aprofessionally organised public event that is confirmed as COVID-19 safety compliant, following local and national guidance.

However, as it will not be practical for everyone to attend organised public events, particularly this year, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service is providing guidance for anyone having their own fireworks display:

Top safety tips for Bonfire Night:

  • Only buy CE marked fireworks from reputable and licensed shops.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed, metal box.
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back.
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them.
  • Never return to a firework that has not gone off, and never throw used or unused fireworks onto a bonfire.
  • Never drink alcohol while lighting a bonfire or setting off fireworks.
  • Always supervise children and don’t give sparklers to a child under five.
  • Keep your bonfire at least 18 metres away from houses, trees and hedges. There should be a barrier around the bonfire to keep spectators five metres away. Before lighting a bonfire, check it is stable and that there are no children or animals inside.
  • Only burn dry wood, never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire and think about the direction of smoke travel.
  • Keep some buckets of water nearby.
  • Have consideration for those around you, including notifying neighbours who may have pets or farm animals.
  • Consider where fireworks and debris might fall, ensuring safety distances are provided for people to keep safe. Safety distances are provided on each firework label or package.

This safety advice is part of 365alive, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service’s vision to work every day to save and improve the lives of people across the county. For more information, visit 

Pete Mackay, Community Safety Manager from Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“Organised fireworks displays are more fun, cheaper and far safer than hosting your own fireworks or bonfire party, but we know there aren’t as many to attend safely this year. If you are planning on using fireworks for a private event, please keep the Fireworks Safety Code in mind: as well as following the local and national COVID-19 guidance.

“Remember, only buy fireworks from a reputable retailer. Before purchasing, seek advice on the suitability of fireworks for the space available, and check that they meet current safety standards.”

To reinforce this safety-first approach, the County Council’s Trading Standards team will be inspecting all firework premises to give businesses advice on the responsible sale and storage of fireworks; checking they meet the necessary safety standards.

Anyone with concerns that retailers are not storing fireworks appropriately, selling fireworks that do not display a CE mark, or selling to anyone under 18; contact Trading Standards. They can also provide safety advice on disposing of unused or damaged fireworks. Do not put fireworks into your bin:

Trading Standards: 01865 895999.

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