Fire department advises strict observance and safe procedures while igniting fireworks


The Fire Department would like to recommend persons purchasing fireworks in the coming days to strictly observe safe procedures while igniting the fireworks.

The Department has granted permits to two applicants allowing them to import and sell fireworks for the period of December 29 to December 31, 2011.

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Only one applicant will be selling fireworks to the general public. The permits were granted based on the Fireworks Resolution AB2000, which regulates the import, storage, transport and sales of consumer fireworks.

The fireworks which are to be sold in small quantities to the general public are small firecrackers and novelty fireworks, such as fountains and sparklers. Even though novelty fireworks are generally considered to be "safe", they can reach temperatures of more than 650° C, and thus hot enough to cause third degree burns. That is why the Department of Fire Prevention is urging the general public to take the necessary precautions and be fireworks smart when lighting firecrackers.

The Fire Department also granted two permits for large fireworks displays which will take place at midnight of December 31/January 1.

When lighting up a firecracker, the burn time before it explodes is between three to eight seconds. This time frame is set based on international regulations. If it explodes earlier, you would not get away on time and if the burning time is longer you may pick it up again to check why it is taking so long.

This is why illegal and unlabeled fireworks which are not checked by the government are so dangerous. And that is also why it is very important to never light up fireworks with a wick that is broken or to relight wicks that have gone out. Before you know these will explode in your hands. Do not ever use homemade fireworks or fireworks without an instruction label. These are illegal and they can kill you!

Report illegal fireworks to the Fire Department at 919 or call the Police Department 911.

The Fire Department would like to thank the population for its cooperation throughout 2011 in preventing fires and on behalf of management and staff, wishes you a safe 2012.

The Fire Department issues the following advice especially those who will be buying fireworks in order for everybody to have a safe and fun year-end experience:

– Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.

– Put on clothes that can handle some sparkles, not nylon nor polyester and protect your eyes by wearing safety glasses.

– Do not put fireworks in the pockets of your shirt or pants.

– Read the instructions and warnings from before. You cannot read the label during evening hours unless you are in a well lit area.

– Choose an open area away from spectators, homes, dry vegetation and buildings especially gas stations, bulk stations, churches, hospitals and senior citizen homes. Think about your pets.

– Make sure you have water nearby (either a hose or a bucket).

– Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.

How to light fireworks:

– Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance about six meters from the person that is igniting fireworks.

– Always ensure that novelty fireworks are standing in a stable position. Put skyrockets in a bottle that is half filled with sand and for big sky rockets secure a pvc-pipe in the ground.

– Light fireworks up with a piece of cotton rope, cigarette or mosquito coil. Never use matches or a lighter.

– Do not light fireworks in your hand.

– Never throw any fireworks at a person or animal.

– Never relight a "dud" firework, those that did not go off. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water

– As each device burns out, soak it using a hose, or bucket of water.

After lighting fireworks:

When you are finished with lighting fireworks you will have to clean up all the firecracker garbage left behind. Do not leave any fireworks on the road especially "duds" those that did not go off.

Many children go looking the next day for leftovers and will try to re-ignite them. Place all used items in a covered, fireproof container and leave it outside and away from homes and buildings.

The Ambulance Department advises the general public to take the following actions in the event anybody gets burned.

The treatment of burns caused by heath starts with the application of cold water in order to cool destroyed tissues and minimize damage to them. This treatment is not administered to extensive or third-degree burns which can be recognized when the burned area is white and dry and also the pain is minor or non-existent, as cold water may aggravate the state of shock.

1. Immerse the burned area immediately in cold running water. Place it under a tap or in a bucket of water, or apply cold-water compress (but not ice) to the burned area.

2. Continue to cool the burned area with cold water for about five minutes or until the pain diminishes. Then dry it gently with a clean towel and dress it with a sterile or clean, dry cloth.

3. Do not prick the blisters or otherwise interfere with the burned area.

4. Do not remove clothing adhering to the wound. Remove any watches, bracelets, rings, belts, or constricting clothing from the affected area before it begins to swell.

5. Do not apply butter, oil, or cream to the wound.

6. Do not press the wounded area.

7. In extensive burns, wrap the victim in a clean sheet and transfer to the hospital.

The emergency number for the Ambulance Dept. is 912.