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Bonfire and firework displays

Health and safety advice for bonfire and firework display organisers.

Site facilities

Provide a suitable barrier to separate members of the public from the bonfire area.

Provide a sufficient number of extinguishers, or buckets of water, for putting out small fires.

Provide at least two spectator exits that are spaced well apart.

Provide at least one suitably equipped first aid point, with a trained attendant.

A suitable loudspeaker or small public address system will ensure that all instructions or announcements can be clearly heard.

Attendants should be suitably clothed, avoiding lightweight clothing that could easily ignite.

Provide means for calling the emergency services.

Careful consideration must be given to the proximity of your bonfire to school buildings, neighbouring buildings, railways and roads. Where the school is of a traditional construction, no fire should be made within 30 metres of the main school buildings. Where the school is of a consortia/clasp construction no fire should be made within 90 metres of the main school buildings.

Do not site the bonfire under overhead electric power lines.

Locate the bonfire downwind of the spectators.


Designate an adequate number of attendants to look after the bonfire and allow only those designated to enter the bonfire area

Do not use petrol or paraffin to light the bonfire

Light the bonfire in 2 or 3 locations with paper or solid firelighters to ensure an even burn

Do not burn dangerous materials, such as foam filled furniture, aerosols, paint tins or rubber tyres

Before lighting the bonfire, check to make sure that it is stable and that there are no children or animals inside.

Public liability insurance

Our public liability insurance does not automatically cover bonfire or firework displays organised by us.

If you are involved in the organisation of these events on our behalf, it may be possible to obtain additional insurance cover but in order to do so you will need to tell the risk and insurance section of the following:

  • location (and vicinity to other buildings/structures) – a minimum of 30m from buildings, railways and roads
  • risk assessments
  • number of attendees
  • planning documentation

Details should be sent by email:

Our public liability policy will not extend to cover external organisations or companies who must have their own insurance to cover such events. In this case we will not need details of the event but the organisers will need to comply with the distances and precautions set out in the document attached to this page.

Evidence of the organisers public liability insurance must be obtained by the school prior to the event. The organisers must hold a minimum of £5 million public liability insurance.

For further information and guidance please see the attached document 'Organising bonfire and fireworks displays' issued by our claims handlers, Gallagher Bassett.