If you plan to enjoy some oohs and ahhs this autumn, don’t forget that fireworks can be dangerous if not used correctly. Stay safe with our top tips for enjoying a home display.

Fireworks season is nearly upon us, writes James McCluskey, of our Trading Standards team.

Buy safe

North Yorkshire Trading Standards issue licenses to firework retailers to ensure that they have proper, safe storage and are only selling fireworks that comply with strict safety standards. Make sure you only buy from licensed retailers, and never buy fireworks from unknown sellers on social media. Remember, it’s also illegal to buy fireworks if you are under 18.

Stick to the fireworks curfews

Did you know that you can’t let fireworks off between 11pm and 7am in England? The only exceptions are Bonfire Night, when fireworks can be let off until midnight, and Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, which extends the curfew to 1am.

Follow the instructions

Fireworks can be extremely dangerous if not used properly and responsibly. Store fireworks in a dry, safe place away from ignition sources. Always follow the instructions, which will tell you how to light them safely and how far back you need to stand. And remember the golden rule – never return to a lit firework unless the instructions state otherwise.

Only use fireworks suitable for home-use

Only some fireworks are safe to use at home. Category F1, F2 an F3 can be bought by the general public. Consumer fireworks fall into categories F2 or F3 depending on how much of a safety distance is required. Anything marked as F4 is a professional standard firework and should not be sold to or used by the general public.

Be considerate

Fireworks aren’t always fun for everyone. Be considerate of those around you, and speak to your neighbours in advance if you’re planning on having a home display. Keeping your displays to the main celebration nights can also help, as most people will be expecting to hear fireworks on these dates and will be better prepared. Keep pets inside and give small animals who live outside extra bedding to burrow in.

Dispose of fireworks responsibly

Always ensure that fireworks are properly extinguished before disposing of them. Soak them in water overnight then place them in a rubbish bag inside your bin. As well as a fire hazard, fireworks not disposed of properly can cause a hazard to the environment and animals.