As Bonfire Night draws near the shops are selling fireworks. In the excitement it is easy to forget that fireworks are explosives and can be very dangerous if used incorrectly.

Last year 1,362 people received hospital treatment for injuries caused by fireworks. York Health Service NHS Trust treated eight people for such problems. Therefore York Trading Standards urges everyone to remember when storing or letting off fireworks that safety has to be the number one priority, especially child safety.

Nationally, statistics show that much of the misuse of fireworks is a result of antisocial behaviour - the number of incidents in the street last year was up by nearly 60 per cent on the previous year. Anyone who lets off a firework or throws a firework in a street or public place commits an offence, and can be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.

Anyone who sells fireworks must be registered with Trading Standards, and the fireworks must be stored safely. Fireworks cannot be sold to anyone under 18. Sparklers cannot be sold to anyone under 16. Any person selling to those underage will risk prosecution, a fine of up to £5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months.

York Trading Standards asks everyone to follow the Firework Safety Code to ensure that Bonfire Night is enjoyed and no one gets injured:

- 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

If you are buying fireworks to use at home you cannot buy bangers; mini-rockets; aerial shells; aerial maroons; shells-in-mortar; maroons-in-mortar; or fireworks with erratic flight (eg ground spinners, jumping jacks, squibs).

All fireworks which are not suitable for use by the general public have to be marked "This device must not be sold to, or used by, a member of the general public". If you are sold one of these do not use it and report the sale to Trading Standards.

- If you want further information about firework safety or any other consumer matter contact City of York Council Trading Standards on 01904 551562, or call at 9 St Leonard's Place. The fax number is 01904 551590, or email them at

Updated: 10:11 Thursday, October 31, 2002