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Having fun and staying safe with fireworks

The Environmental Protection Authority are one of a team of government agencies that keep people safe from the possible effects of fireworks. Fireworks can cause serious injuries to people, damage to property and scare pets and livestock. We’ve got some safety advice so that you can have fun on Guy Fawkes Night, while staying safe.

Buying fireworks

In New Zealand fireworks are only for sale during the four day period between 2 and 5 November. They can only be bought by people aged 18 years and over. Sparklers can only be bought with other fireworks in retail fireworks packages.

Fireworks safety tips

The best way to stay safe from fireworks is to leave it to the professionals. Most towns and cities hold public fireworks displays for Guy Fawkes and other events. There are a number of rules in place to make sure these events are safe for the public so you can go to one of these to enjoy fireworks safely.

If you decide to have fireworks at home, you can protect yourself and others by following some simple tips. We suggest:

  • reading and following the instructions on the firework’s packaging. Remember to read the instructions with a torch - not a lighter or other flame

  • waiting until a calm evening – lighting fireworks in the wind can be dangerous

  • lighting fireworks in an open area away from people, pets, buildings, trees and livestock

  • keeping a bucket of water, a hose or a fire extinguisher handy

  • only having adults light fireworks one at a time. Keep unlit fireworks in the bag or box they were bought in until you are ready to light them and keep them well away from where they are being lit

  • leaving dud fireworks alone – trying to relight them can be dangerous

  • staying sober. Fireworks and alcohol or drugs are a dangerous mix

  • keeping pets inside

  • being considerate of your neighbours.

More information

Your council may also have rules specific to your area, such as whether you can let fireworks off in a public place. Contact your local council for more information.

First aid

If someone is seriously injured while using fireworks call 111.

If someone is burnt treat the burn in cold water for 20 minutes. If the burn is serious, call an ambulance.

Storing fireworks

The best way of storing fireworks? Don’t.

Fireworks are explosives so need to be stored carefully. It’s hard to know if stored fireworks will still be safe to use at a later date. If you do choose to store fireworks we suggest keeping them:

  • locked away where kids or pets can’t access them

  • in their original packaging. Fireworks must be sold in fire resistant packaging

  • away from flammable substances like petrol, oil or turpentine

  • well away from flames or heat sources

  • somewhere very dry.

Importing, storing and selling fireworks

There’s rules you need to follow if you’re planning to import, store or sell fireworks in New Zealand.