Bonfire Night/Fireworks

Some of the following information has been taken from 'Celebrating Bonfire Night - A community guide to organising bonfires and fireworks' produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Remember, Remember

"Remember, remember the fifth of November,

Gunpowder treason and plot.

We see no reason

Why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent

To blow up king and parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below

To prove old England's overthrow.

By God's mercy he was catch'd

With a darkened lantern and burning match.

So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.

Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king."

Organised displays

Many local authorities, schools and community groups hold firework displays to mark certain occasions and they are a great place to enjoy a good night out. They are sometimes free of charge and many raise money for local charities. Fireworks can be expensive. You’re likely to get more dazzle and bang at an organised event. Also, you won’t have to plan and host it yourself, taking on the responsibility for the safety aspects.

Enjoying the fireworks in your local community – sharing the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ with the crowd – can be a great way of getting together, meeting with your friends and neighbours and sharing in your local community spirit. But remember to take a torch along with you and make sure children wear bright clothes so they can be easily seen.

Hosting a fireworks party

For more useful tips and guidance visit Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Safe4Autumn / Treacle webpage.

If you have a safe place to do so and want to celebrate with fireworks in the comfort of your own garden or on other private land (with the landowner’s permission), there’s nothing to stop you and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a great evening. But remember that both you and your guests will need to take care.

These tips are to help you think about and prepare for a fun and safe celebration at home.

Plan ahead:

  • Fireworks must be stored safely, in a closed box, somewhere cool and dry, out of reach of children and animals, until the time they are needed. Don’t keep the box under the stairs or in a passageway.
  • Do you have a large enough space to let fireworks off safely? Each firework should have a minimum safety distance marked on it.
  • Be considerate to your neighbours: warn them beforehand so they can take in their washing, close windows, keep their pets indoors and, if necessary, take other precautions. Why not invite them?
  • Only buy fireworks from reputable dealers. The fireworks should have the product safety marking BS7114 or equivalent and carry a CE mark.
  • Most shops have only been given permission to sell fireworks on or between these dates:
  • 15 October to 10 November
  • 26 to 31 December
  • 3 days before Diwali and Chinese New Year
  • To buy fireworks at other times, you must go to specially licensed shops.
  • Fireworks cannot be let off between 11pm and 7am except on:
  • Bonfire Night (5 November), when the cut off is midnight;
  • New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am.

Fireworks time:

Remember to read and stick to the Firework Code.

  • Fireworks must only be handled and lit by responsible adults.
  • Alcohol and fire don’t mix – nor do alcohol and fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box well away from the bonfire or any other sources of heat or fire.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework. Different fireworks can present different hazards and so the instructions vary.
  • Use a torch if you read the instructions in the dark – do not use a naked flame.
  • Let fireworks off one at a time.
  • Do not throw fireworks – it is highly dangerous.
  • Light them at arm’s length, using a taper.
  • Never play with fireworks – they are explosives and can hurt you.
  • When you are watching fireworks, stand well back.
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
  • Hold sparklers one at a time in gloved hands at arm’s length. When the sparkler goes out, it is still very hot so put it end down in a bucket of water.
  • Never leave matches or lighters lying around
  • We recommend that you do not use sky lanterns as you have no control over them once they’ve been set off. They can kill animals, litter the countryside and start fires. If you do choose to set them off, always follow the manufacturers’ guidance/instructions carefully.

Clearing up:

  • Pick up the spent firework cases – they can still be dangerous. Look for fireworks with a torch. Use tongs or some other suitable tool and wear heatproof gloves.
  • Don’t allow children to collect firework cases.
  • If any firework looks as if it hasn’t gone off after at least half an hour, soak it in water to prevent it reigniting.

Having a bonfire?

A bonfire is a great way to celebrate Bonfire Night, but do follow these safety tips:

  • You can’t get rid of household waste on the bonfire if it will cause pollution or harm people’s health. You should always burn dry material as it produces less smoke. Never burn treated wood, rubber, plastic, foam or paint.
  • Warn your neighbours beforehand so they can take in any washing, close windows, keep pets indoors and take other necessary precautions.
  • Build your bonfire well clear of buildings, roads, garden sheds, fences, trees and hedges and, if possible, choose somewhere sheltered from wind to minimise the risk of the bonfire being blown out of control or of smoke restricting the vision of road users.
  • Check there are no cables – like telephone wires – above the bonfire.
  • Before you light the bonfire, check whether any pets, wildlife or small children have crawled inside.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a working hosepipe nearby in case of fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire and never throw on fireworks or burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries.
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended and keep children and pets away. A responsible adult should supervise the bonfire until it has burnt out.
  • Once the bonfire has died down, pour water on the embers to stop it reigniting.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Anti-Social Behaviour, including setting fires, throwing fireworks, attacking emergency service workers, and hoax calls, is serious and could impact your future. You could end up with a criminal record, it will limit your career and employment prospects and some countries won’t allow you to travel to or visit if you have a criminal record.

The consequences are:

  • Deliberately starting fires or making a hoax call could result in fines up to £5,000 or 6 months in prison
  • You can face up to two years in prison for attacking firefighters and other emergency workers
  • If you put someone’s life in danger by starting a fire, you could potentially be sentenced to life in prison
  • Trafford Council work closely with the Local Neighbourhood Policing Team and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to deal with any anti-social behaviour on Bonfire Night.

Never put yourselves in situations that may be dangerous. Think about the consequences of what could happen to you and how you and others may be affected.

To report incidents of anti-social behaviour, you can contact Greater Manchester Police, using the LiveChat or Greater Manchester Police online reporting. You can also call 101 if it isn’t an emergency. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

For further advice and information, contact Trafford Council Community Safety Team (the quickest and easiest way) or via email at



Further guidance

If you are running a large event these require more planning and organisation. The Cabinet Office has produced a ‘Can do’ guide for those planning a more organised voluntary or community event

Both the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have produced helpful guidance on how to organise and run a safe and successful firework display, some of which may be useful for smaller events:

Happy Bonfire Night