Firework & Bonfire Safety

The Scottish Fire & rescue Service recommends attending organised Fireworks displays, rather than holding your own. These are generally better for the enviroment, much safer than if you were to let fireworks off in your back garden, and can even be cheaper than going out and buying your own fireworks. 

If you are unable to attend an organised display we please ask you think about the affect fireworks can have on the enviroment around you, including young children and animals (who are the most likely to be hurt by fireworks). 

Fireworks Legislation

It is an offence:

  • to set off fireworks before 6pm and after 11pm (or after midnight on bonfire night)
  • to modify, tamper with, or misuse fireworks.
  • to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18.
  • to throw or set off fireworks on any street, highway or public place.
  • for anyone under 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.
  • for anyone other than a fireworks professional to possess display category fireworks.
  • to cause unneccessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals.
Disposal of Fireworks

After you have let off fireworks these should be disposed of by letting them soak in water for a few hours before wrapping up in a plastic bag and placing in your outisde general waste bin. If you have any fireworks which did not work, then DO NOT return to them until after your display is finished. At the end of the display the faulty fireworks should also be soaked, wrapped and binned.

The Fireworks Code

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service recommends attending planned/ organised events however if you are planning on having a fireworks display then be safe and always follow the fireworks code:

  1. Only adults should deal with setting up, lighting and the safe disposal of the fireworks (remember, alcohol and fireworks don't mix!).
  2. Children should be kept an eye on as they watch from a safe distance.
  3. Plan your fireworks display to make sure it is safe, enjoyable and over before 11pm.
  4. Only buy fireworks with carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.
  5. Follow the instructions on the fireworks, and never read the instructions by an open flame.
  6. Light the fireworks at arms length, with a taper, and keep yourself as far away as you can.
  7. Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks.
  8. Never return to a firework after it has been lit, even if it hasn't gone off, it may still explode.
  9. Don't put fireworks in your pockets, and NEVER throw them.
  10. Direct any rockets well away from spectators.
  11. Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  12. Make sure the fire is out and the surroundings are safe before leaving.

Sparklers burn at 1000-1600 degrees celsius, which is at least 10 times the temperature of boiling water. If you are using them, always:

  1. Supervise children with sparklers and never give them to a child under five.
  2. Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  3. Put used sparklers into a bucket of sand or water.
Bonfires & The Law

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

If you know anything about fires that have started 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 furing fireworks and bonfire season is one of the main causes of fires, and 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 or cleansing or enviromental department to arrange uplift.

You can also contact the Dumb Dumpers Stop Line on 0300 777 2292 or visit for more information.

Bonfire Safety Advice

Advice from the SFRS 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 vehicular traffic.
  • Sparks, flying embers or burning debris must not endanger nearby property.
  • Never leave a burning/ smouldering bonfire unsupervised – make sure it is completely extinguished.
Keep a Safe Distance

There are two categories of fireworks you can legally buy to use in your garden, CAT F2 and CAT F3. The category will be clearly marked

on the outside of the box. With CAT F2 fireworks, everyone in your party must stand at least 8 metres away for safety. That’s around 26 ft – or the length of two

family cars parked end-to-end! CAT F3 fireworks have a minimum distance of 25 metres, or about 82 feet. You really need a garden the length of a local swimming pool for CAT F3 fireworks.

CAT F4 fireworks are NOT for private use. If you’re having friends or family over for your firework display, you must make them aware of the minimum safe distance for the fireworks you’re using.

Other Tips on the Night
  • Keep pets indoors – most animals get very scared by the lights and noise from fireworks
  • Never throw spent fireworks on a bonfire
  • Take care around bonfires – all clothes, even those labelled ‘low flammability’, can catch fire
If you want to find out more information about Fireworks, Bonfires and staying safe then check out this leaflet from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: Firework & Bonfire Safety  or you can visit their website: