Fireworks safety tips

Even though fireworks are beautiful and exciting to watch, they can also be potentially dangerous – which could cause damage to your property, or harm your family and pets.

Group of friends with fireworks

When you buy fireworks to use this festive season make sure that: 
  • you only buy fireworks from authorised dealers and shops displaying the relevant permits from the South African Police Service (SAPS),
  • you always accompany your children if they want to buy fireworks if they’re younger than 16, and
  • the fireworks are sold in sealed packages, as received from the suppliers.

Animals are easily frightened by fireworks, and can become distressed or try to escape and run away. So, we encourage you to keep an eye on your pets and to keep them safely indoors where possible.

13 Firework safety tips:

  1. Make sure that your children and their friends are supervised at all times when around fireworks.
  2. Don’t discharge fireworks indoors.
  3. Never keep lit fireworks in your hand, as this could lead to severe injuries.
  4. Fireworks are not allowed in residential areas. Only discharge fireworks at designated sites away from people, homes and cars. Check with your local municipality before igniting fireworks.
  5. If a firework doesn’t ignite, don’t attempt to re-light it. Wait at least 15 minutes before you investigate.
  6. Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby in case of a malfunctioning firework.
  7. Sparklers can be just as dangerous. Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves. Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hands. Put finished sparklers with the hot end down in a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out.
  8. Only light 1 firework at a time.
  9. Don’t make your own fireworks.
  10. Only use fireworks as directed by the instructions printed on the package.
  11. Make sure that your clothes are not close or hanging over the fireworks when you ignite them.
  12. Don’t light fireworks inside any type of container.
  13. Never discharge fireworks whilst under the influence of alcohol. Lighting fireworks


In the event of an emergency:

  • Cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Cut around material sticking to the skin - don't pull it off.
  • Don't touch the burn or burst any blisters.
  • Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material to prevent infection - cling film is ideal.
  • If clothing catches fire, get the person to stop, drop to the floor and roll them in heavy material such as a woollen blanket.

To report a fire you can call 107 from a landline and 021 480 7700 from a cell phone (Tip: Keep this number on your cell phone as a speed dial.)

If you have information relating to the illegal sale or use of fireworks, you can report it to the Metro Police Call Centre on 0860 POLICE (765423) or to SAPS on 10111.

For more information about the location of the designated sites, please contact your local municipality or the City of Cape Town’s Disaster Operations Centre on 080 911 HELP (4357).

The content on this page was last updated on 17 December 2015