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Stay Safe Near Fireworks and Bonfires

31st October 2013

Photograph of Stay Safe Near Fireworks and Bonfires

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)
It is an offence under the Explosives Act 1875 to tamper with or modify fireworks
Did you know that sparklers can reach temperatures more than 15 times as hot as boiling water?
Having fireworks at home can be great fun, as long as they are used safely. Figures show more children rather than adults get hurt by fireworks. Over the past five years over 350 pre-school children, some only a year old, were treated in hospital for fireworks injuries.

Fire Scotland have put out the following messages to keep everyone safe near bonfires and fireworks.

Bonfire Safety

We would always suggest that you attend an official organised display but if you are planning a bonfire, this page will help keep you and your guests safe.

You can find your nearest official display by checking local press and visiting your local authority's website.

Alcohol and fire dont mix

Do not go near bonfires or fireworks whilst under the influence of alcohol.

Some individuals may be tempted to ignore local bye-laws and drink alcohol in public places. This could lead to Police issuing a fixed penalty ticket or a report being sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Bonfire Safety Tips

Advice from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is to attend a safely organised bonfire and firework display. However if you must have a bonfire at home make sure it is well away from buildings, vehicles, trees, hedges, fences, power lines, telecommunications equipment and sheds - and you must ensure that smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours or flying embers endanger neighbouring property.

Never drink alcohol if you are tending a bonfire or setting off fireworks remember it is an offence to consume alcohol in a public place.
To reduce the emission of harmful smoke and combustion products bonfires should comprise of untreated wood and paper based materials only.
There is a danger of explosion from pressurised containers or sealed vessels amongst bonfire material or irresponsibly thrown on burning bonfires.
Never throw fireworks on bonfires.
Never use flammable liquids to ignite bonfires use proprietary fire lighters.
Smoke from bonfires must not pose a public nuisance, affect visibility on roads or otherwise inconvenience vehicles.
Sparks, flying embers or burning debris must not endanger nearby property.
Never leave a burning/smouldering bonfire unsupervised make sure it is completely extinguished.
Any bonfire failing to satisfy safety conditions or where people are behaving irresponsibly may be deemed dangerous and as such, subject to being either removed, extinguished or otherwise made safe.

Bonfires and the Law

It is an offence under Section 56 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 for any person to lay or light a fire in a public place so as to endanger any other person or give them reasonable cause for alarm or annoyance or so as to endanger any property.

If you know anything about fires that have been started deliberately in your area, you can call the Crimestoppers Scotland hotline on 0800 555 111. All calls are completely anonymous and do not require names or personal details and you will not be asked to give evidence in court.

Fly tipping during the Bonfire and Fireworks season is a major cause of fire and it is also a criminal offence. If you see fly tipping or know of an area where there is a build-up of refuse or combustible material, contact your local authority cleansing or environmental department to arrange uplift.

You can also contact the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line on 0845 2 30 40 90 or visit for more information.

Organising a fireworks and bonfire display

If you are organising a display visit for guidance and practical advice.

Safer Fireworks

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