Fireworks safety should always be top of mind this time of year. There are just two holidays where the city presents a professional fireworks display, Victoria Day and Canada Day, and while those displays are put on by trained professionals, the fireworks being set off around your neighbourhood are not.
Hamilton Emergency Services sent out an important safety reminder for anyone buying or setting off fireworks to celebrate the holiday with family and friends.
Fireworks can only be set off on your own property and only on the Canada Day holiday, or the two days immediately before or following Canada day. The person setting off the fireworks needs to be at least 18 years of age. It is important that the instructions on the packaging are read and any safety precautions and required clearances are followed.
• Choose a clear, open space, away from buildings, trees, overhead wires and combustible materials.
• Appoint one person to be in charge and remember, alcohol and fireworks don’t mix together
• Always keep a garden hose or pail of water close by.
• Use a flashlight to help you see what your doing
• Set up a ‘safe zone’ equal to at least the distance that each of the fireworks will reach (check the labels for these distances) and keep all spectators, children and pets out of this area.
• Keep fireworks in a closed box, away from the activation area, taking them out one at a time
• If not equipped with a base, firmly set the firework at least half its length in a bucket of sand or dirt, angled slightly away from spectators and check the wind direction and speed before lighting
• Light only one firework at a time at the tip of the fuse and never try to light a firework, or hold a lit firework, in your hand. Never lean over a firework at any time. If a firework is a dud or misfires, approach it with caution. Never try to re-light a firework. Leave it for at least 30 minutes and then place it in a bucket of water
• Supervise the use of all sparklers, especially with children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing and cause severe burns. Children should have only one lit sparkler at a time and should not wave or point the sparkler in the direction of other people. Sparklers may remain hot for several minutes after burnout and should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury
• If someone is burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention if necessary
For more information on fireworks safety you can contact the Fire Prevention Division at 905-546-2424 ext. 1380, weekdays between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm or visit the Fire Safety website at www.hamilton.ca/fire.