4 November 2015

Did you know that sparklers get five times hotter than cooking oil? Or that a rocket can reach speeds of 150mph?

In order to keep people safe this Bonfire Night, and ensure that the season remains fun for all, Sheffield City Council’s trading standards officers have been out and about across the city to remind traders of their legal responsibilities.

This involves ensuring retailers are supplying safe fireworks and are adhering to the law by only selling them to people over the legal age limit.

Councillor Terry Fox, cabinet member for transport and the environment at Sheffield City Council, said: “As well as being a time for fun and celebration, the firework season can often encourage incidents of anti-social behaviour, which can cause concern – and in extreme cases – fear, for vulnerable individuals.

“Bonfire Night and fireworks in general can be great fun for the entire family, but it is important that people celebrate safely. It’s a fact that many accidents are caused by improper use of fireworks and by carelessness.

“I would strongly encourage people to use fireworks carefully and responsibly, to ensure that this Bonfire Night remains fun for all.”

Figures show that more children than adults get hurt by fireworks, which is one reason why fireworks are an age-restricted item.

Trading Standards officers use underage volunteers to check that shops are not selling fireworks to children. In Sheffield, this is being carried out as part of Operation Dark Nights in conjunction with South Yorkshire Police.

Superintendent Colin McFarlane, South Yorkshire Police’s lead officer on anti-social behaviour, said: “We want everyone taking part in Bonfire Night celebrations to enjoy them but to do so safely and responsibly for themselves and for others.

“Unfortunately this time of year can also lead to some anti-social behaviour incidents. I would like to remind people that committing anti-social behaviour can lead to a fine, a criminal behaviour order and ultimately prison if offences are committed.

“I would ask people to contact the police if they think someone is at risk or if they are being individually targeted.”

Did you know:

  • It is against the law to carry fireworks in public if you’re under 18.
  • Fireworks must not be sold to anyone who is under 18.
  • It is an offence to let fireworks off during night hours (11pm to 7am), except on Bonfire Night (midnight), Diwali, New Year, and Chinese New Year (1am).
  • Fireworks can only be sold in accordance with the correct licence. During firework season, fireworks can only be sold between 15 October and 10 November
  • Other periods when fireworks can be sold in accordance with a licence are on the first day of the Chinese New Year and three days preceding it; on the day of Diwali and three days preceding it, and between 26 December and 31 December
  • In order to sell fireworks throughout the whole year, traders need an all year round licence.

The following fireworks are not allowed to be supplied to the general public:

  • Aerial wheels
  • Shells-in-mortar
  • Air bombs
  • All bangers (including batteries and combinations, such as Chinese Crackers
  • Mini rockets
  • Fireworks with erratic flight (eg/ jumping ground spinners, jumping crackers, spinners)
  • Category 4 professional display fireworks (other than to a person with specialist knowledge)

To keep safe this Bonfire Night, people are reminded to follow the below safety guidelines:

  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire
  • Light sparklers one at a time, wear gloves and never give sparklers to a child under the age of five. Older children should be supervised.
  • Buy fireworks marked BS 7114 or bearing a CE Mark
  • Only purchase fireworks from licenced premises
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and follow the instructions on each firework
  • Light them at arm’s length using a taper
  • Stand well back and never go back to a lit firework
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw fireworks
  • Have a full bucket of water handy for any emergency, and for putting used sparklers into
  • Make sure that the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

Anyone concerned about unsafe fireworks or about young people being sold fireworks should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506. The helpline takes all calls on behalf of Sheffield Trading Standards.