How to hold a safe firework display

Find guidance on how to use fireworks safely, including the equipment you'll need, how to keep children safe and the laws you must follow.

How to use fireworks safely

The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at an organised display. You can find upcoming firework displays from Visit Brighton.

If you’re having your own display, follow the East Sussex Fire and Rescue service’s tips to have a fun and safe evening.

Buy good quality fireworks

Never buy fireworks from anywhere you're not sure about, like a van or a temporary, unlicensed market stall.

Only buy fireworks with a CE mark. This mark shows that the fireworks meet British or European safety standards. The shop owner should know about this mark.

Gather the equipment you’ll need

Before you begin your fireworks display, you’ll need: 

  • a closed metal box to store the fireworks - take them out one at a time
  • a bucket of water to cool sparklers and put out any small fires
  • eye protection and gloves
  • a bucket of earth to stick fireworks in

Set off the fireworks safely

Make sure you have read and understood the instructions on each firework. Read the instructions carefully in daylight or by torchlight, never by the light of a naked flame.

Make suitable supports and launchers if you're setting off Catherine wheels or rockets.

It is best to only have one person to let off the fireworks. This person shouldn’t drink alcohol. They should make sure everyone else stands well back and use a taper to light the fireworks at arm’s length.

Never go back to a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off it could still explode.

Never put fireworks on a bonfire. Never put them in your pocket and never throw them.

Make sure children and pets are safe

Tell your neighbours you are going to let off fireworks. This allows them to get any pets safe and inside. 

If you have pets, make sure they’re inside when you’re using fireworks or sparklers.

Always supervise children with sparklers and make sure they wear gloves. Only light one sparkler at a time.

Never give a sparkler to a child under five.

Put used sparklers hot end down into a bucket of sand or water.

You can get more information about Firework Safety, including the firework code from the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Follow the laws around fireworks

Shops that sell fireworks have to have a licence to store and sell fireworks cannot sell fireworks to anyone under 18 years old. We encourage them to have a ‘no ID, no sale’ policy.

The Fireworks Regulations 2004 says that it’s against the law for anyone under 18 to have fireworks. It also says no one except professionals can have display fireworks. 

You cannot use fireworks between 11pm and 7am. There are extensions for some festivals. You can set off fireworks until:

  • 1am on the night of the Chinese New Year
  • 1am on the night of Diwali
  • 1am on New Year's Eve
  • midnight on 5 November

The police enforce these regulations, not the council. There’s a penalty of up to £5,000 or 6 months in prison if you break these laws.

Find more information about fireworks and the law from GOV.UK.