Bonfire and fireworks safety
Bonfire safety advice
Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service would encourage residents to attend organised bonfires if possible.
If you are having your own bonfire, please make sure you follow this safety advice:
- Site the bonfire at least 20 metres away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees and shrubs and always away from fireworks
- Build the stack so that it is stable and will not collapse outwards or to one side
- Always check for wildlife before lighting your bonfire
- Never use flammable liquids - paraffin or petrol - to light the fire
- Don't burn hazardous materials - including plastics, rubber, tyres, foam-filled furniture, aerosols, tins of paint and bottles
- Keep everyone away from the fire - especially children, who must be supervised all the time
- In case of an emergency keep buckets of water or the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready, and dampen down any embers when you have finished
- Do not leave the bonfire unattended
The Fireworks Code
The Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service would always encourage you to attend a properly managed fireworks display.
If you are thinking of using fireworks as part of your celebrations, please follow the safety advice below.
Having fireworks at home can be great fun as long as they are used safely. Figures have shown that more children than adults get hurt by fireworks.
Fireworks are safe if you use them properly. If you are putting on a home display you should follow some simple steps to make sure that everyone has a good time without getting hurt.
Always follow the fireworks code
- Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114
- Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
- Keep fireworks in a closed box
- Follow the instructions on each firework
- Light them at arm’s length, using a taper
- Stand well back
- Never go near a firework that has been lit
- Even if it hasn’t gone 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
Keep children safe
We want children to enjoy fireworks but they need to know that they can be dangerous if they are not used properly. Each year over half of all firework injuries are suffered by children.
Did you know that sparklers get 5 times hotter than cooking oil? They should never be given to a child under 5.
Always consider your neighbours and their needs.
Setting fireworks off
Only one person should be in charge of fireworks. If that's you, then make sure you take all the necessary precautions. Read the instructions in daylight and don't drink any alcohol until they've all been discharged. Make your preparations in advance and in daylight or with a torch (never a naked flame). On the night you will need:
- A torch.
- A bucket or two of water.
- Eye protection and gloves.
- A bucket of soft earth to put fireworks in.
- Suitable supports and launchers if you are setting off Catherine Wheels or rockets.
On the 20 July 2021 the Sky Lanterns and Balloons (Prohibition) Act 2021 came into force prohibiting the sale and supply of sky lanterns and the release of sky lanterns and helium balloons into the atmosphere.
According to the Act a “sky lantern” includes any device taking the form of a miniature unmanned balloon, envelope or similar contraption that relies on a heat source to heat the air inside the balloon, envelope or contraption which is capable of rising into the atmosphere.
A copy of the Act can be found on the Isle of Man Legislation webpage.
Protect your animals
You should take precautions to protect your pets during this time of the year when fireworks are likely to be set off. Our advice would be to keep all pets indoors as the noise associated with fireworks can frighten pets and cause them undue stress. Turn on your television or radio to drown out the background noise of fireworks.
Using fireworks legally
It is against the law to set off or throw fireworks in the street or other public places.
The Community Safety Team request that fireworks are not discharged after midnight with the exception of New Years Eve when it is accepted that fireworks will be used to celebrate the New Year. If you require any bonfire or firework safety advice, please contact our Community Safety Team on +44 1624 647329 who will be happy to assist.
Enjoy your bonfire night but please take these sensible precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.