Bonfire Night Safety: How to avoid a building fire from bonfires & fireworks


Although there are many organised bonfire and firework events, it does not stop those from having their own personal bonfire night with friends and family. Every year thousands of people end up in hospital over firework and bonfire incidents in the lead up to and on November 5th. Therefore, with Guy Fawkes night fast approaching, it is important to know how to have fun while doing it safely, imposing no risk on yourself or others.

Bonfires and fireworks have been known to cause fires and damage properties, especially when not used correctly. An average of 127 building and home fires per year are caused by the use of fireworks. The majority of these are from private or family gatherings as opposed to organised events.

In addition to this, it is important to store unused fireworks safely in a property to avoid a fire from within. The HSE have made a checklist of how to store fireworks safely to avoid the risk of a fire.

  • Keep fireworks away from cigarettes and naked lights
  • Store safely in a lockable cabinet, away from kids and pets
  • Don’t store near electric sockets in case of sparks
  • Keep away from any heaters, such as electric heaters or radiators
  • Store away from anything highly flammable
  • Keep fireworks in their original packaging until being used
  • Keep dry, away from water or chemicals

As well as making sure a fire does not start from within a property, building and outbuilding fires also can be caused through bonfires and firework displays outside the property .

Firework Safety

2019 saw over 2000 A&E incidents from fireworks. This is because on average more than a third of the public have their own private firework displays.

Did you know that fireworks can travel up to a speed of 150mph and should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18? Therefore, this makes them extremely dangerous if not used correctly.

1. Make sure there are no flammable materials nearby

2. Only buy approved fireworks that are marked with the codes CE, UKCA or BS7114, and make sure they are safe for home use before purchasing

3. Only adults should handle and light fireworks

4. Once lit at arm’s length move yourself and everyone back from the firework, and DO NOT return to it

5. Do no throw fireworks

6. Position the fireworks up or away from you, buildings, or anything flammable

Bonfire Safety

The best way to have a safe bonfire is through preparation, by having the right set up and materials ready and in place.

Furthermore, by following these steps, you can ensure everybody’s safety.

1. Contain the bonfire

– Using a metal incinerator and locating it away from anything that is potentially flammable will help contain the bonfire.

– This includes keeping it away from buildings, trees, long/dry grass, cars, overhead wires, fireworks and wooden structures e.g. sheds, fences.

2. Never leave your bonfire unattended

– By leaving your bonfire unattended, it leaves room for something dangerous to happen that cannot be controlled as quickly if you were there, such as the fire spreading.

– Ensure a hose, a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher are nearby and ensure that you have a device so that you can call for emergency services as quickly as possible if something were to go wrong.

3. Keep children and pets away

– Never leave your child unsupervised or too near a bonfire in case they harm themselves.

– It is best to keep your pets inside, as it’s possible they can run into the bonfire or run away. If having your pets outside, make sure they are well trained, or tied on a lead.

4. Build a stable stack

– By building a stable stack for your bonfire it will protect it from collapsing or toppling over, potentially setting other materials on fire.

5. Do not burn highly flammable materials

– These include fuel, plastic, rubbish, aerosols, lighter fluid, tyres, fireworks, foam filled furniture, paint and gas canisters.

6. Make your local fire services aware

– By letting your local fire service know that you are having a private bonfire will ensure that if they get any calls regarding a fire in the same area, that their time is not wasted.

If an uncontrollable fire occurs through the use of bonfires or fireworks and, leave the property and immediately contact the fire brigade.

Once the fire has been extinguished by the fire service, CPL t/a Rainbow International are on hand to offer an emergency clean-up service 24/7, 365 days a year across the South East of England. Our specialists tackle the visible signs of fire and smoke damage, as well as eliminating any residual odours and can safely clean all areas of an affected building.

Our fire damage restoration services are quick and efficient. We can also deal with the insurers on your behalf, to make things a bit easier, in what is often a very stressful situation. Get in touch with us on 0808 1960363 to find out more.