Firework Safety

Fireworks are fun and exciting but remember they are explosives!
They should be treated with care, but don’t let that put you off using them. If handled correctly you probably have more chance of hurting yourself falling down the stairs!

Firework Categories

There are three types of firework available to the public:

Category F1 – Indoor / Close Proximity Fireworks
Category F2 – Garden Fireworks
Category F3 – Larger Garden / Display Fireworks

Here we will be discussing Category (Cat) F2 & F3 Fireworks

Cat F2 & F3 Fireworks are essentially the same, however, Cat F2 Fireworks are suitable to use in smaller gardens and carry a minimum safety distance of 8 metres. Cat F3 Fireworks are generally larger and you need a minimum 25 metre safety distance to use these, however, we suggest even more for larger Cat F3 items, not just on safety grounds, but if you stand too close to larger fireworks you just can’t appreciate them as much. Cat F1 Fireworks are the smallest fireworks and less powerful where you can observe them from up to 1 metre away.

Organising your display

Early preparation is important

You should nominate one person to be in charge of the fireworks and lighting, if you are having a larger display then you should set up a committee and assign the various jobs to individuals well in advance to ensure firework safety. Make sure your firing site can accommodate the type of fireworks you want to fire, you will need more space than you think, take a look at our example firing site below, it will give you an idea of the space you require.

Read Instructions

Make sure that you read the instructions on ALL your fireworks, different fireworks behave differently and need to be set up and secured in their own unique way to guarantee firework safety. In recent years newer ‘fan style’ cakes have been introduced and you should take extra care to ensure that the correct side of the firework is facing the audience. Cakes / barrages, candles, mines and fountain-fireworks should all be buried in soft earth, or alternatively you can attach them to wooden stakes buried into the ground, when doing this make sure that the stake is nearest the audience and attach the firework with strong cloth tape (gaffa tape, not sellotape) or thick cable ties, by making sure that the firework is behind the stake, you minimise the risk of the firework falling over and facing the crowd. For large cakes use a couple of stakes. Remember to angle your fireworks whether they are buried or staked away from the audience. If it’s raining you can use plastic bags or bin liners to keep your fireworks dry.


Fountains sometimes come in the shape of a cone, making it hard to attach them to something, if you have this type of fountain place it on a board or flat surface such as paving slab, just placing it on earth or grass will make the firework unstable and increase the risk of it falling over.


Rockets should only be launched from suitable tubes, if you require more you can make your own from plumbing pipe, but always ensure that the stick of the rocket can rise freely from the pipe, if it gets stuck in the pipe the rocket will explode at ground level, something we don’t want. People think that the stick is just there to support the rocket before lift off, but its an important part of the firework ensuring that the head of the rocket stays stable on its upward flight, so if you have a rocket with a broken stick, don’t be tempted to fire it, it won’t work properly. Remember, rockets always travel into the wind so you should take this into account when setting up your display, you should also angle your rockets away from the audience and ensure there is no overhead obstruction such as trees or powerlines


If you are having a bonfire they should be a safe distance down wind of the firework area and must be supervised at all times. Never use inflammables such as petrol or paraffin to start the fire and under no circumstances dispose of used or unused fireworks on the bonfire.

On the night

Make sure you're prepared

For safety around fireworks, always wear protective clothing, goggles, hard hat and gloves are a must, for extra protection you might want to invest in probhan (fire retardant) overalls, these can be obtained from many outlets for as little as £15-£20. If you are lighting your fireworks one at a time, keep your fireworks in a closed, fireproof container and take them out as you need them, DON’T PUT FIREWORKS IN YOUR POCKETS leaving them in the open could mean sparks from lit fireworks igniting them. You should make sure that no one can wander into the firing area, use rope or another type of barrier if you have to. Designate someone as a marshall if you haven’t already to keep an eye on your audience. Make sure you have a torch to read the instructions on the fireworks again. NEVER read the instructions with a naked flame! Fire extinguishers, buckets of sand or water should be available. When lighting your fireworks only use a portfire or other safety lighter attached to a stick to distance you from the firework, you should never use lighters or matches, always light the firework at arms length. Once lit, retire to a safe distance. NEVER RETURN TO A LIT FIREWORK, EVEN IF YOU THINK ITS NOT LIT.

Fall out area

You should have an adequate fall out area of 30-50 metres.

Display area

Place smaller items at the front of this area and larger cakes and rockets towards the back. Remember to angle all fireworks towards the fall out area.

Safety area

Minimum 25 metres more if space allows. Ideally 50 metres.


Let's recap, safety rules…remember, be safe and have fun!

Unpack the fireworks in a safe place away from open fires and easily inflammable material

Make sure that the fireworks are all separated from the packing material

Always light fireworks with a portfire attached to a stick held at arms length

Remember that fireworks are fragile

When out of doors, the firework box should be covered with a tarpaulin or other spark proof material as a spark could ignite the whole contents

Never walk or lean across the top of any firework. Treat them as you would a loaded gun muzzle

Always soak un ignited fireworks in water for 24 hours before disposal

Never smoke when handling fireworks

When firing a display always wear protective overalls, goggles, hard hat and gloves. Beware of hot effects falling into gaping pockets, wellington boots etc.

Never put used or unused fireworks on to a bonfire

Make sure rockets are free to rise from their tubes. Rockets will always fly in to the wind, so take this into consideration. If it's very windy, DON'T FIRE THEM

Check any cakes with angles are facing the audience correctly. You don't want your firework firing over their heads.

Types of fireworks

three fireworks in pink, green and yellow strobes


Consist of a motor (lift charge) and explosive head. Come in various shapes, sizes and colours and explode with various effects. Should be launched from a rocket launching tube angled slightly away from the spectators and any obstructions. Make sure the rocket is free to rise.

Orange firework fountain


Omit showers of sparks, crackles and whistles, upwards to then cascade back down like a fountain. A better fountain effect can be obtained if secured off the ground, for example on a board between two ladders.

firework mines


There are two types of mine. A mortar mine and ground / jack mine. A mortar mine just contains a huge, powerfull erruption. Ground Mines or Jack Mines as they are sometimes known, usually start with a small fountain or whistle effect before ejecting their stars. Both should be treated with the upmost respect and burried or secured to a stake.

firework catherine wheel

Catherine wheels

Usually made from gerbs (small fountain-fireworks) attached to a round or flat timber frame, these should be securely attached to a post using a nail (the higher the better) ensuring that the wheel can spin freely. Once ignited they omit showers of sparks and sometimes whistles, the force from the sparks ‘spinning’ the wheel round.

red and orange fireworks in night sky

Roman candles

Eject various effects from either single tubes (candles) or multiple tubes fused together (candle bundles). Should be buried to 2/3rds depth or attached to a wooden stake to ensure they can’t fall over.

fireworks cakes


Made up of single shot roman candles all connected and fused together to make one "Cake" They can contain anything from a few shots to several hundred and fire straight up, fanned, Z-fire, W-Fire or a mixture of shapes (SIB Single Ignition) Care should be taken with fanned effects to make sure the cake is facing the audience correctly. Cakes should be secured with wooden stakes as they are often too big to be burried.

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Delivery Information

Next Day

 – You will receive your order the following working day from day of despatch (not including Saturday/Sunday). We endeavour to dispatch all orders placed before 12pm the same day although this is not always possible in our busy season, October – December. If you require your order by a certain date enter this in the “order notes” section on the next page. All dates are treated as the latest date for delivery NOT the date you would like delivery.

Hold For Later Delivery

– This option is for those who would like us to hold on to their order and deliver it nearer to the date of their display. You should enter this date in the “order notes” section on the next page.

Collect from Chelmsford Store

– Select this option if you would like to collect your order. Enter the date you would like to collect and AM/PM in the “order notes” section on the next page. Collection is not available on SATURDAY 2nd NOVEMBER 2019. You will be required to bring the card you used to pay with and photo ID before you can collect your order. THESE MUST MATCH.

Add to Existing Order

 – If you already have an order with us and would like to add to it before it is shipped, select this option then enter your existing order number in the “order notes” section on the next page.

Saturday Delivery

 – Enter the date you would like your order delivered in the “order notes” section on the next page. If this is blank your order will be delivered on the next Saturday after the day of ordering. PLEASE NOTE it is not possible to deliver orders on the Saturday either side of Bonfire Night, Christmas or New Year


 – Your order will be delivered before midday the day after it has been dispatched (excluding Saturday / Sunday)

Before 10:30 am

 – Your order will be delivered before 10:30am the day after it has been dispatched (excluding Saturday / Sunday).