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Call for the community to do its part on firework safety

Trading Standards

03 November 2022

Those tempted to hold firework displays at home are being told their safety begins at the point at which they purchase them.

West Northamptonshire Council’s (WNC) Trading Standards team is reminding people to buy only from licensed sellers, and to avoid the temptation to pick up cheap fireworks from the back of a van, a market stall, or on social media.

"Celebrations around November 5 are some of our most exciting traditions, but they always put an extra strain on public resources.

"The best way to enjoy the festivities is at an organised display. You can be sure the highest safety standards are being followed and you could be supporting your school, village hall or one of our many community groups by attending.

"But if you must have a display at home it is your obligation to ensure it is safe, for you own sake and for the loved ones enjoying it beside you.

"Fireworks are explosives, and your safety begins as the point at which you purchase them. 

"Only buy from outlets you know and trust. Never buy fireworks via social media and be very careful when buy them online. Only use websites belonging to fully licensed firework companies.

"Always read the instructions and if they are not clear or not in English, they may be illegal.

"Our Trading Standards Team work hard to crack down on unlicensed sellers, but you can do your part by only buying fireworks from reputable retailers.

"By doing so, together we can put them out of business and ensure you avoid the potentially fatal consequences of unlicensed fireworks."
Cllr David Smith, WNC’s Cabinet Member for community safety and engagement, and regulatory.

All fireworks sold in the UK must carry the CE or UKCA mark and come with English labelling and instructions.

Fireworks which lack this will not have been put through the same rigorous testing as genuine fireworks and could pose a serious risk to public safety.

People are also reminded that the sorts of fireworks typically designed for private displays can only be bought by those aged 18 and over, and that the most powerful Category F4 fireworks must only be used by professionals.

The safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a properly organised public display, but those who choose to have a firework party at home should always follow the Firework Code.

“We want to ensure that everyone celebrates this time of the year in the safest way possible. 

“We would encourage people to attend official fireworks displays if they can, but if you are hosting a firework display at home then we would ask people to make sure they purchase safe products from licensed sellers.

"You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and read them by torchlight, never by a naked flame.

"Make sure to use a safety firework lighter or fuse wick, and never go back to a firework once it has been lit.

"We would recommend keeping a bucket of water nearby, and make sure you collect fireworks after a display with care, douse them with water and dispose of them in a proper metal container.

"People should not drink alcohol when setting fireworks off, and children and pets should be kept at a safe distance from the display.

"Finally, remember to ‘stop, drop and roll’ if your clothing should catch fire."
Lisa Bryan, Prevention Manager at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service.

People are encouraged to report any suspected illegal products or sellers to Trading Standards by contacting Citizens Advice and Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

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