Firework Safety: Light Up Your Night Responsibly

Sparklers, firecrackers, and dazzling aerial displays – fireworks are a hallmark of many celebrations. But […]

Sparklers, firecrackers, and dazzling aerial displays – fireworks are a hallmark of many celebrations. But before you light the fuse on your backyard extravaganza, brush up on your firework safety knowledge!

Know The Law: Permitted Fireworks & Local By-Laws

Before you buy fireworks, check with your local authorities to see whether you’re allowed to set off fireworks in your area.

In Barrie, for instance, you are only allowed to set off fireworks until 11 PM on:

  • Victoria Day Monday (not Saturday or Sunday)
  • Canada Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • Lunar New Year (all 15 days)
  • Diwali (all 5 days)

For any other day of the year, you require a permit if you want to have a fireworks show.

In addition to these rules, Barrie residents must also:

  • Find a Safe Location: Keep your display at least 300 meters away from schools, hospitals, nursing homes, health lodges, and churches, unless you have permission from the property owner and City.
  • Mind the Wind: Avoid using fireworks when wind speeds are above 40 kilometers per hour. Strong winds can make fireworks unpredictable and dangerous.
  • Keep it Clear of Flammables: Fireworks and flammable materials are not a good mix! Steer clear of setting off fireworks within 300 meters of areas where explosives, gasoline, or other highly flammable objects are stored or produced.
  • Maintain a Safe Distance: For everyone’s safety, it’s important to maintain a safe distance between each firework and anything they could potentially damage. Avoid lighting fireworks within 8 meters of buildings, tents, trailers, camps, shelters, or motor vehicles.
  • Respect Public and Private Property: Unless you have explicit permission from the appropriate authorities, avoid setting off fireworks on or into highways, public parks, or private property.
  • Use the Right Fireworks: Before setting off any fireworks, make sure they’re legal. (We’ll cover how to do this in more detail later on.)

Fireworks Regulations in Municipalities Around Barrie

Adjala-Tosorontio | Bradford West Gwillimbury | Clearview | Collingwood | Essa | Innisfil | New Tecumseth | Oro Medonte | Penetanguishene | Ramara | Severn | Tay | Tiny | Wasaga Beach

Setting The Stage For A Safe Show

Preparation is key to a safe and enjoyable firework show. Here’s how to create a responsible launch zone:

  • Pick a Location: Find a flat, level surface away from buildings, trees, and anything flammable.
  • Safety Gear: Have a bucket of sand, water supply, and fire extinguisher close by.
  • Spectator Safety: People watching the fireworks should stand a safe distance away, as designated on the firework instructions.
  • Store Fireworks Safely: If you have unused fireworks, store them away from where you are lighting fireworks and make sure they are in a no smoking zone.

Light Up the Night Safely

Now for the fun part, but remember, lighting fireworks requires focus and caution:

  • Be the Responsible Lighter: Always light fireworks at arm’s length for maximum control. Protective gloves and eyeglasses are highly recommended to shield your hands and eyes from sparks or unexpected mishaps.
  • Leaning is a No-No: Fireworks are designed to propel themselves upwards, so resist the urge to lean over them while lighting. Keep your hair pulled back and maintain a safe distance after ignition.
  • Dress for Success: Skip the flowy clothing and opt for snugger-fitting attire. You want to avoid any loose fabrics that could dangle near the flames and potentially ignite.
  • Leave it to the Grown-Ups: If you’re under 18 or under the influence, it’s best to admire the fireworks display from a safe distance. Fireworks are for responsible adults who can handle them with care.
  • If it’s Been Lit, Leave It: If a firework doesn’t go off, wait at least 10 minutes before approaching it. Duds can still have a delayed fuse. Douse it thoroughly with water and place it in a separate container filled with water to soak overnight before discarding it properly.
  • Glow Sticks For Youngins: Sparklers are surprisingly hot, reaching temperatures of 1200°F! For younger children, opt for glow sticks as a safer alternative. If you do use sparklers, always supervise children closely and douse them in sand after use to ensure they are completely extinguished.

Firework Disposal

The party’s over, but firework disposal remains. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Soak It: Completely submerge fireworks in water overnight.
  • Bag It: After soaking, place them in a sealed plastic bag to prevent drying.
  • Trash It Right: Check local guidelines, but typically soaked fireworks can be disposed of in small batches in your regular trash can. Fireworks don’t belong in recycling!
  • Check for Community Programs: Some communities organize firework take-back programs after holidays. Check with your local authorities to see if this option is available in your area.

Make Sure It’s Legal

Fireworks can add sparkle to celebrations, but it’s important to choose safe and legal ones. Here’s how to identify fireworks approved for use in Canada:

  • Look for Bilingual Labels: All legal fireworks must have instructions and labels in both English and French. This is a good first check, but remember, not all bilingual labels mean the fireworks are legal.
  • Buy from Reputable Sellers: Get your fireworks from licensed retailers who only sell authorized products.

Fireworks to Avoid

Here are some of fireworks that are strictly prohibited in Canada:

  • Throw-down Torpedoes
  • Cherry Bombs
  • Flash Crackers
  • Cigarette Loads
  • Trick Matches
  • Snaps
  • M-80 Salutes
  • Sprite Bombs
  • Firecrackers (without a permit)

Light Up the Night Responsibly!

By following these safety tips and knowing the local regulations, you can ensure your firework display is a night to remember for all the right reasons. Celebrate responsibly and have a blast!