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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fireworks safety: plan, prepare, protect and prevent


Fireworks safety: plan, prepare, protect and prevent

The City of Toronto's Fire Services reminds Torontonians about the importance of safety precautions when using fireworks and sparklers at Victoria Day celebrations this weekend.

“Fireworks can be dangerous - they have the potential to cause serious injury,” said Fire Chief William Stewart. “Responsible adults must supervise fireworks displays. If you plan to host your own display, please take the time to plan, prepare, protect and prevent.”

Toronto Fire Services would prefer to have families visit a public fireworks display in the community that is conducted by a professional fireworks display company. Please note the following list of safety tips for adults who are considering hosting their own displays at home. City parks may not be used for personal fireworks displays.

Plan:
• Fireworks are only permitted to be used without a permit on designated holidays.
• Purchase fireworks from a retailer displaying a valid, City-issued fireworks vendor’s permit.
• Always read and follow the label directions.

Prepare:
• Fireworks and sparklers should be safely stored and kept out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard or drawer.
• Ensure that fireworks can be discharged a safe distance away from combustible materials, including buildings and trees.
• Prior to ignition, fireworks should be buried at least halfway down into a bucket of sand or earth. If portable firing bases are not available, plant them directly in the ground making sure each piece is firmly supported before igniting.

Protect:
• Light the fireworks at arm's length, stand back and keep your face turned away. If a firework fails to ignite, do not attempt to re-light it. Let it sit in the base for 10 to 15 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
• The adult igniting the fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of his or her body extended over the firework.
• Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
• Never discharge fireworks from metal or glass containers.
• Never discharge fireworks indoors.
• If someone is burned, immediately run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes as preliminary treatment.

Prevent:
Sparklers should also be doused with water, or allowed to cool in a safe place away from children playing. The ends of sparklers continue to stay hot for some time, and will easily burn a child’s skin, clothing, or nearby combustible material. Do not use sparklers indoors.
• Children should never be permitted to light fireworks. Adults must be responsible for handling all fireworks materials while spectators watch from a safe distance.
• Only one adult should ignite the fireworks; fireworks are not meant to be hand-held.
• Light only one fireworks item at a time.
• Always have water on hand - from a garden hose and bucket - to soak fireworks after firing them.

More information about fireworks safety is available under What’s New at http://www.toronto.ca/fire.

The City's fireworks bylaw is also a source of relevant information: http://www.toronto.ca/fire/bylaws.htm

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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