Storing Explosives

This guidance summarises the requirements of a licence for the storage of fireworks when sold in retail premises to members of the public.

Reference is made to the 'net explosive content' (NEC) of fireworks, which is the actual quantity of explosive contained within the fireworks. This is not the same as gross weight, which includes all the fireworks, immediate packaging, casing etc.

You are permitted to store up to 250kg NEC of Hazard Type 4 fireworks. Most fireworks for sale in retail premises are generally classified as Hazard Type 4 and are labelled 1.4G on their transit boxes.

Larger type fireworks, labelled 1.3G on their transport packages, will generally be classified as Hazard Type 3. You should contact the fire service for further information on the storage of this type of firework.

Any person who stores fireworks should carry out a risk assessment and take the appropriate measures to control any risks found.

See the Fireworks in shops: Retailers' risk assessment checklist.

Fireworks can be stored in the building (shop) from which they are sold. However the risk of a fire involving or spreading to fireworks is increased due to the other activities that take place in the working environment, including the presence of members of the public. It is therefore vital that control measures are put in place to prevent the accidental ignition of the fireworks and to restrict the spread of fire. This can be achieved by keeping fireworks away from sources of ignition, heat, other combustibles, flammable goods and public access.

Methods of segregation include storing fireworks in:

  • A suitable lockable store room
  • A metal ISO shipping container located outside in a secure location used solely for firework storage
  • Fire resistant storage cupboards, cabinets or containers used solely for firework storage

You must ensure that the location is suitable for the quantity of fireworks that you are storing and that the fireworks if possible are kept in their transport boxes.

For any storage of fireworks you must ensure that:

  • The quantities of fireworks being stored, handled or displayed in areas where employees work are controlled and within the weight limits
  • Sources of heat such as portable heaters are kept well away from the fireworks
  • Smoking is not allowed
  • Any electrics or lighting do not pose a risk of ignition. Electrics and lighting in display cabinets and small containers where fireworks are stored must be disconnected
  • Fireworks are, when possible, stored in their transport  boxes
  • Fireworks are not emptied into metal dustbins
  • Entry into the storeroom is restricted to employees only
  • The storage area must be clean of loose powder and unwanted packaging
  • There are adequate means of escape in case of fire
  • Suitable lighting is present within the store room

If more than 75kgs 'NEC' fireworks are stored within or adjoining a building containing domestic or sleeping accommodation, suitable steps must be taken to protect the residents of those premises in the event of fire. The following specific precautions must be taken:

  • A fire detection system (linked smoke detectors) must be installed in the shop
  • The domestic parts of the building must have access and exit routes that are fire-separated from those used for the firework store
  • There must be suitable fire separation between the firework store and the domestic premises (eg. doors, floors and ceiling offering 30 minutes fire resistance)
  • The store must be closed off and secured from the domestic part of the premises to prevent unauthorised access (including children) and also help prevent the accidental introduction of ignition sources