The fire service is urging people across East Sussex and Brighton and Hove to make sure they buy their fireworks from a licensed retailer in preparation for bonfire night and Diwali.
The safety warning comes ahead of two strikes by members of the Fire Brigades Union (1st November between 18.30 and 23.00 and 4th November between 06.00 and 08.00) when the public is being asked to avoid having bonfires or setting off fireworks.
The sale and storage of fireworks is heavily regulated to make sure that only the safest products that comply with current quality standards reach licensed shops. But consumers still need to be on the lookout for illegal fireworks that may be unsafe and could cause injury.
If you are planning your own bonfire celebration and fireworks display this autumn, don’t buy cheaply from an unlicensed source. Make sure you follow our simple advice:
· Buy your fireworks from a trader that has been licensed to sell fireworks by Trading Standards. If in doubt, contact Trading Standards or ask to see the trader’s license before you buy.
· Only buy fireworks that comply with European safety standards and clearly display the distinctive CE mark that shows the product complies with these standards. They should also be correctly labelled with details of the manufacturer and importer.
· Fireworks that comply with British Standards BS7114 can still be sold without the CE mark until 4 July 2017.
· Contact Trading Standards if you know of any illegal practices by traders. This includes storage of fireworks at sites not registered with the local authority, sale of fireworks at market stalls or car boot sales or selling to under-18s.
Each year we play a key role with Trading Standards in inspecting licensed premises for the safe storage and sale of fireworks. Our main focus is to ensure that retailers have completed their risk assessments, that they store fireworks in line with regulations and that they have the right quantity according to their license.
In some boroughs we are also working with police Neighbourhood Policing Teams to deliver the firework safety message to children through school visits.
Ron Kirkwood from the Business Safety Department at East Sussex Fire and Rescue said: “Fireworks can provide a fun and spectacular end to your celebrations but, as with any other kind of explosive you need to handle them with extreme care and take notice of what you are buying.
“When it comes to fireworks, buying cheaply from an unlicensed shop will almost certainly be a false economy and could result in serious injury or worse. Fireworks that comply with the relevant safety standards are clearly marked – make sure you do a quick check before you buy.
“Of course, buying your fireworks is only the first step towards a safe and enjoyable celebration. On the night, follow our advice and make sure that you, your family and friends have a safe and enjoyable time.”
Remember that attending an organised bonfire and firework display is one of the safest ways to enjoy the celebrations on 5th November. Details of some of the larger displays are available here.