Bonfires and fireworks
If you’re planning to have a bonfire, follow some simple safety tips to help you stay safe.
Building your bonfire
- build your bonfire well away from, and clear of, buildings, garden sheds, fences, hedges and overhanging branches
- keep it to a manageable size and evenly built, so that it collapses inwards as it burns
- the bonfire’s construction is still sound before lighting it
- there are no children or animals inside
- no hazardous items such as aerosols and fireworks have been thrown onto it
Lighting your bonfire
- it is dangerous to use flammable liquids to help start a bonfire
- do not burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
- tell neighbouring properties you are going to have a bonfire to avoid non-essential 999 calls
Did you know?
Even if there are no flames, radiated heat alone can cause nearby plants or structures to catch fire, so please keep cooking well away from fences, foliage, and buildings.
- never leave bonfires unattended. KFRS recommends a bonfire should be supervised by an adult until it has burnt out.
- once you are finished with the bonfire, dampen it down fully with water making sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving
- keep a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby in case of an emergency.
What to do in an emergency
If the bonfire becomes out of control and catches foliage or property alight, call 999
If your clothes catch fire remember to:
- Stop where you are
- Drop to the ground
- Roll around to put the fire out
- Cool the burn or scald under cool running water for at least 20 minutes
- Call for help, in an emergency call 999
- Cover with loose cling film
(See our First Aid for burns and scalds page for useful information)
Fireworks are something that can be enjoyed by all the family, but should be used safely, carefully and lawfully.
If you are planning on having a firework display, you can help to avoid an emergency by following the firework code:
- stand well back
- keep pets indoors
- keep fireworks in a closed box
- only buy fireworks that are CE marked
- light at arm's length, using a taper
- follow the instructions on each firework
- never give sparklers to a child under five
- don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
- always supervise children around fireworks
- light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
- never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
- never go near a firework that has been lit - even if it hasn't gone off it could still explode
It’s also a good idea to let your neighbours know in advance if you’re having a firework display, as any loud noises and flashes might cause alarm and distress, including for pets.
It is against the law to set off or throw fireworks, including sparklers, in the street of other public places.
Time restrictions also apply for fireworks. It is illegal to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, expected for:
- Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight
- New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am
It’s best to check with your local council to find out about any other restrictions regarding fireworks in the area.
Children should be supervised at all times, and you can make sparklers easier to hold for little hands by sticking the end into a halved carrot.
Be sure to light one sparkler at a time and wear gloves. It’s also a good idea to keep a bucket of water or sand nearby and ready to place used sparklers in, and to let them fully cool before being disposed of.
Our Byrnes Family has plenty more top tips for keeping safe this autumn.