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Fireworks Advice info

Are your fireworks up to standard?

Is your garden big enough?

Pets and fireworks



Are your fireworks up to standard?

Bedford Trading Standards Service is urging fireworks retailers to act responsibly and think "safety" in storing and selling fireworks at any time of year.


Anyone storing more than 5kg of fireworks in the run up to 5 November or certain religious festivals such as Diwali has to register with the Bedford Borough Council’s Trading Standards Service. If they want to store or sell them all year round, they have to apply for a licence from the same service.


Retailers are reminded that changes were made to the law in 2005 relating to the hazard categorisation of fireworks and the amount that can be kept in the sales area of a shop. Registered and licensed traders are provided comprehensive guidance on their responsibilities and obligations when storing and selling fireworks.


If you are currently storing fireworks and have not registered with your local authority you are urged to contact them immediately.


Over the firework period, Trading Standards Officers will be visiting fireworks retailers to ensure they have acted on their advice are storing and selling their fireworks responsibly.


There will also be random checks to make sure retailers are not selling fireworks to under 18s. They are urged that if in any doubt about the age of a potential customer, they should always ask for proof of identification. Officers will also be monitoring illegal sales at Car Boot Sales and other impromptu venues.


Bedfordshire and Luton Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller, said: "Accidents can so easily happen - especially when people are enjoying themselves. The public can access a wealth of information on safety relating to all types of fireworks events from Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (opens in new window). Make sure you take a look before lighting up this season."


Traders face an unlimited fine or up to two years imprisonment for breaching the storage requirements and a £5,000 fine for selling fireworks to children.


Trading Standards Officers have also visited some Bedford schools to speak to children about the dangers of playing with fireworks. They are asking both children and parents to follow the following advice to ensure their bonfire night is a safe one:

  • Only buy Fireworks marked BS7114
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Keep fireworks in closed boxes
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Light them at arms length using a taper
  • Stand well back
  • Never go near a lit firework-even if it doesn’t go off it could still explode
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them
  • Always supervise children around fireworks
  • Light Sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Never give sparklers to a child under five
  • Keep pets indoors
  • Don’t let off noisy fireworks after 11 p.m.


Businesses that are only registered (as opposed to possessing an all year round license) may only sell fireworks during the following periods;

  • October 15th - November 10th
  • December 26th - December 31st
  • Chinese New Year (four days before, including the day of Chinese New Year)
  • Diwali (four days before, including Diwali)


No person shall use adult fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except from:

  • 11pm to midnight on 5 November
  • 11pm on 31 December and 1am on 1 January
  • The first day of Chinese New Year, from 11pm to 1am the following day
  • The first day of Diwali, from 11pm to 1am the following day


If you have any further questions concerning the sale or storage of fireworks please contact Bedford's Trading Standards Department on 01234 718099.

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Is your garden big enough?

Members of the public who are buying fireworks could be putting themselves and others at risk if they don’t take notice of safety distances.

The Trading Standards Service is warning that those who don’t have big enough gardens will be playing with fire when lighting Category 3 fireworks.

The vast majority of the fireworks being sold are Category 3, all of which state that a spectator must be at least 25 metres away when the firework is lit. This is a safety concern as few people have access to that amount of private space.

Trading Standards Institute spokeswoman, Christine Heemskerk, lead officer for product safety said: “Category 3 fireworks are becoming bigger and more powerful and many people do not realise that there is supposed to be a safety distance of 25 metres – which is a lot further than most people realise.

“Category 2’s safety distance is just five metres so it’s a big jump between Categories 2 and 3.“

Because of their size and power, Category 3 fireworks also need to be properly secured. Not all fireworks have to be part-buried but those that do need to be placed far enough into the ground for a successful launch and to reduce the risk of them firing across the ground and causing injuries. Some can be placed on flat surfaces, fixed to posts etc in accordance with the instructions printed on them.

“Regardless of how responsible the person may be lighting the fireworks, lighting them in a small garden puts everybody at risk” added Martin Window spokesman for trading standards.

“We do not want to dampen anyone’s mood this Bonfire night but it is our duty to point out the risks to those who are putting on their own firework displays this year. The safety distance for a Category 3 is set for one reason only - to protect members of the public.”

The size and power of Category 3 fireworks is becoming quite a concern. TSI are also urging retailers to warn customers of the appropriate safety distance before the Category 3 fireworks are sold.

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Pets and fireworks

Follow these easy tips to your pets remain relaxed and happy over the firework season.

  • On the evenings you expect fireworks ensure your pet is safe indoors and secure doors, windows and cat flaps.
  • Make sure your dog or cat is microchipped. If they do escape, frightened confused animals can easily get lost or injured and it is important that they are easily identified.
  • Ensure dogs are taken out to toilet early in the evening and cats are provided with a litter tray.
  • Draw curtains to reduce outside noise and play music or have the TV turned on to help mask the noise of fireworks.
  • Ignore any fearful behaviour. Do not try to comfort your pet. The animal will pick up on your anxiety and this may make the problem worse and/or fussing a pet who appears frightened can reward this negative behaviour.
  • Don’t punish your pet either; this only confirms that there was something to be afraid of.
  • If your pet hides in a corner or under a bed, leave it alone and do not try to coax it out. This ‘bolthole’ is where the animal feels most secure.
  • Try not to go out during such potentially upsetting events. Seeing you acting normally will help your pets feel more settled.
  • If you are still worried or if the pet takes a long time to recover from the experience contact your vet for further assistance or for referral for behavioural therapy.

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