FIREWORK CATEGORIES – What do they mean?

  • Cat 1 – Indoor Fireworks – safe to ignite indoors preferably on a plate but don’t use your Mum’s best china!
  • Cat 2 – Minimum safety distances of either 5m or 8m are required between display area and spectators
  • Cat 3 – Minimum safety distance of 25m is required between display area and spectators


Before choosing fireworks

  • Decide where you are going to hold the display
  • Measure out the entire area. If the distance is less than 25m between the display area and spectators you should only choose Category 2 fireworks that have either 5m or 8m safety distance requirements
  • If the distance is over 25m between display area and spectators you can choose any Category 2 or Category 3 fireworks
  • Check the area for overhead tree branches - fan effect fireworks have big spreads.  The shots ejected from fireworks can bounce off branches – don’t assume they will go straight through
  • Check the entire area for potential risks – for example, are there any green houses or sheds nearby, do they have flammable materials stored inside?


Purchasing Fireworks

  • Always use a reputable Firework Company to buy fireworks. It is illegal to buy fireworks from any unlicensed trader, and offers from “the back of a van” or “a man in a pub” should be avoided for both you and your spectators’ safety 
  • Ensure all fireworks purchased have the BS7114 part 2 or CE mark on them
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions!  All retailers should know all about the safety distances and requirements for a safe and happy event.


Things you will need on the night

It’s easy to get a few household things together, these are:

  • 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 for those lighting the fireworks


Setting up your Display

Safety is the most important aspect of your display

Ensuring that your fireworks remain upright is imperative

There are a number of methods for this but for cakes, barrages, mines and single ignitions we recommend putting a stake in the ground and securely attaching the firework with gaffer tape or cable ties

  • Position the stake between the firework and your spectators
  • Tie securely but not overtight, the tubes need some room for expansion as the shots are ejected
  • Make sure you know where the fuse is located
  • If damp / wet, place the fireworks on a waterproof surface e.g. carrier bag
  • If raining, keep you fireworks covered until you are ready to light them
  • For Catherine Wheels, fix securely to a post and ensure firework is free to rotate before lighting
  • For Rockets, use the tube supplied by your retailer and angle slightly off vertical


Lighting fireworks

  • Only designated persons should be responsible for letting off fireworks
  • Light fireworks at arm’s length, using a portfire or similar
  • Never go back to a firework that has been lit – even if it hasn’t gone off it could still explode
  • Put any fireworks that have failed to ignite in a bucket of water and leave overnight before disposing


Other tips on the night

Finally, follow these other rules for a safe night:

  • Keep pets indoors – most animals get very scared by the lights and noise from fireworks
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire
  • Take care around bonfires – all clothes, even those labelled ‘low flammability’ - can catch fire