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Think Bright on Bonfire Night

A personal guide to a safe Guy Fawkes night.


  • Wear gloves – this will significantly reduce your risk of being burnt from sparkler sparks.


  • Only light 1 sparkler at a time to avoid flame fusion. 3 sparklers burning together generates the same heat as a blow torch which can easily burn skin!


  • Keep away from fireworks. Lighting sparklers near fireworks is recipe for disaster. 1 dropped sparkler or spark is enough to ignite a firework which, depending on it’s genre, could cause severe danger.


  • Have a bowl of sand or water on stand by. This will allow for the sparkler to be cooled after use or in an emergency. Lit ends should not be touched, even after extinction.



  • Follow the specific instructions highlighted for each different firework type. This will demonstrate how to secure and light the firework safely.


  • Light fireworks from an arms length using a taper. Keeping a safe distance will reduce risks of burns from ignition sparks.


  • Never go back to a lit firework. If a firework does not explode after ignition, leave it for 10 minutes to ensure there is not a delayed explosion. After that time, dispel of it in a bucket of water which will disable it, ready for disposal.


  • The safest option for enjoying fireworks is by going to an organised public display. These events will have to abide by strict public safety rules, have marked pathways and safe viewing areas.


For further firework safety information, visit Fire Scotland.


Visit The List to find your nearest public firework display.



  • To prevent harmful smoke and  combustion chemicals, comprise your bonfire of untreated wood and paper based materials only.


  • A poorly constructed bonfire can collapse unexpectedly at dangerous angles. Review the Men’s Journal article on different ways to safely build your bonfire. Always maintain a safe distance, in case of an unexpected collapse or surge of flames.


  • Ensure that the wind direction will not carry smoke in to public or inhabited areas. Smoke may cause nuisance and distress which, if severe, could become a chargeable offence. Embers can also be carried with smoke, causing a direct fire hazard. Do not light near flammable materials e.g. hay barns, tarred roofs.


  • Never leave a bonfire while it is still smouldering – make sure it is properly extinguished. Embers can sometimes stay lit for days, unnoticed. Flood your bonfire with water once finished to ensure there is no possibility of re-ignition.


For further bonfire safety information, visit Fire Scotland


  • Although fireworks are largely biodegradable, nobody likes to see litter.  It is almost impossible to collect all of your firework litter so try to be proactive in community clean ups. If you see firework litter around your area, make an effort to put it in the nearest bin. Make sure fireworks are dud before picking up.


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