Safety tips for Canada Day fireworks

There are only two days a year you can set off fireworks on your property without needing a permit, and one of those days is tomorrow.

There are only two days a year you can set off fireworks on your property without needing a permit, and one of those days is tomorrow.

If you're thinking of putting on a show yourself on Canada Day, you should keep in mind some safety tips, like keeping everyone a safe distance away.

But Ann Rastin, owner of Victory Fireworks in Richmond Hill, also points out that you have to be careful of what kind of fireworks you purchase and where you get them.

If you have ordered something from the U.S. thinking you could put on a unique show, keep in mind that some products you can get south of the border are banned in Canada. Those include firecrackers and bottle rockets.

"We've heard of many instances of [firecrackers] are held too tight and a finger gets blown off," Rastin says.

Firecrackers have been banned in the country for over 30 years.

"In Canada, our regulations are very strict," she says. "But they're strict for a reason. They're strict so that we have safer products."

Rastin says her store orders about 60 per cent more merchandise ahead of Canada Day.

Here is a list of firework safety tips from city officials:

• Fireworks may only be used without a permit on designated holidays (such as Victoria Day).
• Purchase fireworks from a retailer displaying a City-issued fireworks vendor permit.
• Always read and follow the label directions.

• Before fireworks and sparklers are used, they should be kept out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard or drawer.
• Discharge the fireworks a safe distance from combustible materials such as buildings and trees.
• Before they are ignited, fireworks should be buried at least half their length into a bucket of sand or earth (if portable firing bases are not available). Plant the fireworks directly into the sand/ground to make sure each piece is firmly supported and aimed straight up.

• 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, then soak it in a bucket of water.
• The adult igniting the fireworks should wear eye protection and avoid having any part of his or her body over the firework.
• Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
• Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
• Never discharge fireworks in metal or glass containers.
• Never discharge fireworks indoors.
• If someone does suffer a burn, run cool water over it for a few minutes and consider further treatment.

• In order to prevent an accident or injury, sparklers should 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 other nearby combustible material.
• Do not allow sparklers to be used indoors.
• Children make a great audience but they should never be permitted to light fireworks. Adults are responsible for handling the fireworks materials while spectators watch the display from a safe distance.
• One designated adult should ignite the fireworks.
• Ignited fireworks should never be hand-held.
• Light only one firework item at a time.
• Always have water on hand - a garden hose and bucket of water - to soak fireworks after they have fired.

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