Stay safe this fireworks night

Essex County Council (ECC) and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) will be working together this year in the lead up to November 5 to ensure residents are safe when purchasing fireworks for any celebrations.

Fireworks are on sale ready for bonfire night and both organisations will be working together to ensure any businesses selling fireworks to residents are doing so in the correct way. Businesses must have a license in order the sell fireworks and they must be stored in a way that ensures the safety of their staff and shoppers.

Officers from both organisations will be carrying out in inspections at licensed premises’ that are selling fireworks to offer advice and guidance on the safe storage and sales of fireworks. They will also be investigating reports of fireworks being sold illegally by traders without the correct license.

County councillor Roger Walters, member with responsibility for Trading Standards said: “This is a great time of year and many of our residents enjoy fireworks in a safe way. By working with the ECFRS, our Trading Standards officers can share intelligence to ensure that any fireworks that are for sale are safe to be used.”

Divisional officer Neil Fenwick, from ECFRS Community Safety, said: “It is important to be sure that all fireworks have passed the British Safety Standards and have been purchased from reputable shops. Making sure that you have a safe bonfire night starts with buying safe fireworks.

“We will be working with colleagues in Trading Standards to make sure that fireworks on sale in the county are as safe as possible and that shops and other premises are storing fireworks safely and correctly.”

It is illegal for retailers to sell fireworks to children under the age of 18. Officers from Trading Standards will be conducting test purchases at shops across the county using an underage volunteer over the next month.

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Any shop that does sell a firework product to a child could be prosecuted. The maximum penalty for underage firework sales is a �5000 fine, six months imprisonment, or both. Shops which sell fireworks must also clearly display a sign informing customers that the minimum age for buying fireworks is 18.

Fireworks should be stored in a safe place, preferably a locked cabinet or display case. They should also be kept well away from other flammables.

Trading Standards would advise residents to only purchase fireworks from fixed retail premises. Don’t be tempted to buy from markets, boot sales and backs of vans, as they may be unsafe. All fireworks must have been tested to meet British Standards, and be marked BS 7114.