Bonfire and fireworks events advice 28/10/2021

As we approach bonfire and fireworks season, read up on official safety advice for handling fireworks, and some advice from Gallagher Insurance on running fireworks events.

Official safety guidance

The Office for Product Safety and Standards has published safety guidance on using fireworks responsibly which may be helpful for fireworks events. This includes a reminder to follow the Fireworks Code. Further safety tips from OPSS include:

  • Only buy from licenced sellers. 
  • Let off fireworks on traditional celebration dates and adhere to the fireworks curfew
  • Follow the instructions
  • Understand what fireworks you can use at home
  • Be considerate to animals when letting off fireworks
  • Keep pets safe

You can read the complete safety guidance here, please do share with your communities to help keep people safe. There are some downloadable resources available that you can use as social media posts or as posters.

Watch and share the firework safety video below!

Advice from Gallagher Insurance on fireworks events

Bonfire and fireworks events can be very popular but have the potential to cause damage and serious injury. If you wish to hold a bonfire event, you will need to ensure you follow safety guidelines, and minimise any potential risks to spectators and property. Here are some guidelines for managing risk at bonfires and fireworks events.


Where possible the display should be organised and operated by the manufacturer of the fireworks or a professional operator. When employing a contractor, you must obtain written confirmation that they have adequate Public and Employers’ Liability insurance. If is not possible to employ professionals, then a responsible adult from the organising committee should be given sole control of the storage and lighting of fireworks.

  • Only use fireworks which comply with BS EN 14035.
  • Wherever possible have at least one person with previous experience of organising firework displays.
  • The display area should be at least 50 metres x 50 metres and an additional dropping zone of 100 metres x 50 metres for spent fireworks.
  • Car parking areas should be sited well away from the display area and dropping zone. Keep vehicular entrances away from pedestrian access..
  • Fireworks should be stored in a metal container and removed one at a time with the lid replaced each time.

Fireworks which fail to ignite should not be returned to the metal container and no attempt should be made to relight them.

  • Fireworks should only be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fire extinguishers, buckets of water and sand, should be available close by.
  • Crowds should be situated at a safe distance behind barriers and the wind direction taken into account when setting the display.


  • Keep the bonfire well away from any fireworks display.
  • The bonfire should be stable and checked to ensure that it will not fall to one side.
  • Use firelighters instead of flammable liquids
  • Bonfires should be kept to a manageable size and additional materials to be burnt kept at a safe distance away from the fire
  • The bonfire should be under the control of a responsible adult, and one person should be in charge of all safety arrangements.
  • Firefighting equipment should be quickly available
  • Qualified first aiders with suitable equipment should attend all organised bonfires and firework displays.
  • Water should be poured on the embers of the fire and the site should not be left until the bonfire is out and safe.

The Health & Safety Executive provides guidance on holding a fireworks event, which is a useful resource when planning an event.

Please note that firework and bonfire events must be organised in accordance with COVID-19 secure guidance and Government advice applicable at the time of the event.

Kevin Millard – Regional Representative for Devon,, 07458 124 847

The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.

Please tell us about the events happening in your community, we love to hear about events and to share what you’ve been up to!