New Year’s Eve Fireworks Safety Tips

Residents are being given fireworks and Chinese sky lanterns safety tips by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service to help reduce the risks of accidents on New Year’s Eve.

The advice is to attend an organised community fireworks display if possible. Anyone planning on using fireworks for a private event is encouraged to follow the fireworks safety code.

Deb Forder, Community Safety Manager from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s important that people only buy fireworks from a reputable retailer. Before purchasing, seek advice on the suitability of fireworks for the space available and check that they meet current safety standards. Please also follow our advice if using Chinese sky lanterns.

“When purchasing fireworks, make sure they are CE marked. And for everyone’s safety, the fireworks should be kept in a closed, metal box.

“Fireworks should be lit at arm’s length with a taper; and people should stand well back. Extra care should be taken to keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks and never drink alcohol while setting them off. Don’t put fireworks in pockets or throw them and never put used or unused fireworks onto a bonfire.”

Other fireworks safety tips include:

  • Never returning to a firework that has not gone off.
  • Always supervising children and don’t give sparklers to a child under five.
  • Keeping buckets of water nearby.
  • Considering where fireworks and debris might fall, ensuring safety distances are provided for people to keep safe. Safety distances are provided on each firework label or package.

Anyone organising a fireworks display is also encouraged to consider those around them, including notifying neighbours who may have pets or farm animals.

Chinese sky lanterns have become popular at celebrations, including New Year’s Eve. Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service does not recommend the use of sky lanterns because of the fire risk they pose.

However, if they are used, make sure there are no flammable materials near the sky lantern launch site and don’t launch near roads or airports. Consider wind directions and don’t launch if the wind takes the lantern towards vegetation, thatched properties or built-up areas. Also, don’t launch in strong winds.

Once a Chinese sky lantern is launched there is no control over the direction of travel. The fuel cell can stay hot and ignite items that it lands on. It should also be remembered that damage to the paper or hanging things onto the lantern might increase the fire risk.


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