If you’re a landowner planning on inviting the public to a celebration involving fireworks you should ensure you follow safety guidelines which will help your event go off with a bang.

Often estate owners will host either commercial or charitable events where a firework display is the main attraction. But even if you are inviting the local community free of charge, it is vital that all precautions and safety elements are addressed, including proper risk assessments and ensuring adequate insurance is in place.

Where an event is being run by a professional firework display company, landowners should check that the company has its own insurances and adequate limits of indemnity equal to the estate's existing limits of cover.

If the landowner is running the event they should discuss it in advance with their own insurer to make sure acceptable protective measures are put in place, safety standards are met, and that any additional premiums are agreed.

Here are a few safety tips for those planning on running their own event:

Firework safety

  • fireworks are kept in a closed metal box and taken out one at a time;
  • the instructions on each firework are followed carefully. They should be read by torchlight - never a naked flame;
  • pets are kept indoors;
  • fireworks are lit at arm's length using a safety firework lighter or fuse wick;
  • organisers retreat quickly after lighting and stand well back;
  • organisers never go back to a firework once lit - as it may still be live and could go off in their face;
  • fireworks are not thrown, kept in pockets or played with;
  • used fireworks are collected after the display with the utmost care, doused with water and either buried or placed in a metal bucket;
  • children are not allowed to collect used fireworks.

Bonfire safety

  • bonfires are lit away from houses, garages, sheds, trees, fences and overhead cables;
  • bonfires should be kept well away from the fireworks display;
  • dangerous rubbish such as foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles should not be burnt;
  • bonfires should be stable so as not to fall to one side;
  • flammable liquids such as paraffin or petrol should not be used to light the bonfire - use firelighters;
  • hoses, fire extinguishers or buckets of water should be nearby in case of an emergency;
  • people should be kept a safe distance away from the fire by setting up a rope cordon. Children should be kept under careful supervision at all times;
  • water should be poured on the bonfire embers to ensure that they have gone out completely before the site is left.

General safety for public displays

  • before setting up your event, the local fire brigade, police and first aid association should be informed;
  • a drill should be prepared for calling out the emergency services; 
  • there should be plenty of space. Spectators should be kept preferably 50m but no less than 22m away from a firework display;
  • a rope or strong barrier should clearly mark off the display area;
  • the site should have as many entrances and exits as possible which are kept clear of obstructions;
  • stewards should be appointed to guide spectators;
  • fire extinguishers should be on hand as well as buckets of water and sand.