If you’re planning on hosting a garden fireworks display for Bonfire Night or subsequently over Christmas and the New Year periods, it’s worth knowing what you should and shouldn’t be doing, especially if you haven’t hosted your own garden display before.
To answer the question we ask in the title, in legal terms you don’t need to tell anybody about your garden fireworks display. However, as a point of courtesy it is a good idea to inform at the very least your immediate neighbours. You don’t necessarily need to invite them, but they’d definitely appreciate the notification, especially if they have pets or small children and may need to make plans to ensure your display doesn’t disrupt home life too much.
After notifying your neighbours of your intention to hold a garden fireworks display, you should spend more time considering what you need to do to stay safe. Here are some of the main things to consider.
While garden fireworks, you may know them as category two fireworks, have a much lower safety distance than display fireworks, do not assume that you have the space to have a display without checking. Under the most recent European Union regulations garden fireworks have an eight metre safety distance, though some specific products have a lower distance of five metres.
Depending on the distance you have, you can then choose the correct fireworks to hold a safe and fun display.
You need to ensure you have a safe landing area, too. If you live in the middle of a large estate, then a garden fireworks display probably isn’t for you unfortunately. However, if you are able to fire into a field this shouldn’t be a problem, provided there’ll be no animals or people in it at the time of your display!
If you fail to follow these safety guidelines, you may be liable to prosecution. If in doubt, be sure to check whether you can safely hold your display.
Additional Safety Tips
They’ve got the Power
While in the United Kingdom fireworks categories range from one to four, with one being the least powerful and four being the most so, you should still be wary of the power and explosiveness of garden fireworks.
Just because they seem smaller and less intimidating now you have held fireworks for yourself and think there is nothing to it, this is no excuse for being lackadaisical when it comes to safety. Be as wary of category two garden fireworks as you would be with something bigger that packs more of a punch.
Treat your garden display as if you are hosting a large display for hundreds. Have a bucket of water to hand, wear the necessary safety equipment, and have a first aid kit at your disposal.
Read the Instructions
Firing fireworks isn’t the most difficult thing in the world to do, but it is one of the most dangerous. As daft as it sounds, failing to read the instructions can lead to things happening such as lighting fireworks the wrong way up. Many garden fireworks come in the form of selection boxes, and these in particular can be confusing if you do not pay due attention and heed instructions correctly.
Be the One in Charge
Take responsibility for being the person who stores the fireworks correctly, and be sure to dispose of them correctly afterwards if you have any unused or dud fireworks. Ensure that children are not able to access fireworks at any time before, during, or after your displays, and have a clear viewing area marked a safe distance away from where you are firing.
Garden firework displays can be memorable and fun, but for this to happen they need to be safe. Make sure yours is.