For almost all retailers, you will need a licence. You will need to apply to West Midlands Fire Service. If you are storing small quantities at home you do not need a licence, but you should still follow the safety and use guidance.
There are four categories of fireworks. The Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 (as amended) specify those which may be supplied to the general public. All other fireworks may only be supplied to a restricted range of persons and organisations which are specified in the 1997 Regulations.
The following information applies to the retail sale of fireworks:
The periods where selling fireworks without a sales licence is permitted are: Guy Fawkes, from 15th October and ending on 10th November; New Year, from 26th December and ending on the 31st December; Chinese
New Year, the first day and the three days immediately preceding it; and on the day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding it.
Fireworks should be sold in manufacturers’ packed sets. The contents of these must not be taken out of their packs and sold separately. Only some sparklers and some larger individual devices may be sold unpacked.
A leaflet giving information about storing and selling fireworks safely may be viewed and downloaded free of charge at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg407.pdf
Here are some of the key points:
exclude sources of ignition
stop people smoking anywhere near fireworks
keep fireworks away from space heaters
avoid handling of fireworks unnecessarily
keep fireworks in closed transport packaging
don’t decant fireworks into metal dustbins
don’t store fireworks near articles that could easily catch fire leading to the fire spreading to the fireworks
don’t store fireworks near other articles that could spread the fire.
don’t store with flammable items such as white spirit or nylon tights and stockings
don’t store near pallets, cardboard boxes and paper
don’t store near parked vehicles
ensure that all fireworks in the shop sales area are kept in a suitable display or storage cabinet
ensure all escape routes and fire exits are clear and fire exit doors unlocked
don’t store or display anywhere near an escape route or fire exit
don’t store an excessive amount either in the shop or in the stockroom
don’t store more than you are allowed to store under your licence or registration
Please note you must take special precautions if you share a building with flats or maisonettes. Please contact us or West Midlands Fire Service for more information.
Your firework supplier is also a useful source of information and advice.
Before you can supply or transfer more than 50 kg net of fireworks to someone, that person must show you a valid registration or licence. Licensing authorities may request to see information about firework transactions exceeding 50kg net explosive content in particular – the date that the fireworks were supplied, the date that the supplier supplied to another person, or proposed to supply and the total weight.
Your premises should already meet various fire regulations so what follows is extra advice for the period while you are selling fireworks and is not a complete statement of your obligations.
Don’t store fireworks in passageways or under stairs and keep these clear at all times. Don’t obstruct any doors.
Keep water-type fire extinguishers handy and make sure they are properly maintained. Buckets of water or sand are useful as a standby.
Make sure you (and any staff) know how to call the Fire Service quickly. Have a display notice that tells everyone what to do if there is a fire.
If someone suspects a fire, get everyone out of your shop and call the Fire Service immediately. As soon as the Fire Officer arrives, tell him or her that fireworks are involved and explain where and how the fireworks are stored.
As a responsible retailer, you should provide display safety leaflets and posters featuring the Firework Code - available to download below – alongside the fireworks, ensuring your customers get essential safety advice. Remember - the age limit for buying fireworks. Don’t sell to anyone under 18 – anti-social behaviour with fireworks can be a problem.
Visit the bonfire and firework safety web page.