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Lighting Up the Sky: Playing it Smart with Fireworks

Fire WorksThe summer is here, and with it come the long awaited holidays.  Although the first few long weekends have come and gone, there are still a few more around the corner.  Fireworks have become a favourite family tradition.  Kids can’t get enough of them, and most of the local communities in the Durham, Ajax and Whitby area put on special displays of their own.

Did you know that the Explosives Safety and Security Branch of Natural Resources Canada actually tests and approves the fireworks that are sold to the public on this side of the border?  Each product is assessed to confirm that is it is safe to transport, store, handle and use.  Although fireworks can be purchased south of the border, it’s better to stick to the products that are federally regulated in Canada and meet the highest safety standards.

If you are planning a backyard display of your own, it’s always important to put safety first.  Natural Resources Canada provides a helpful list of rules to keep in mind.  Remember, you are playing with fire.  According to the Consumer Works Fireworks Safety Guidelines, anyone under the age of 18 who handles fireworks should be supervised by an adult.

Chose a wide open space for your display, far away from homes, brush and other obstacles.  Most fireworks are labelled with instructions that indicate the safe distance required away from spectators.  Take some time to review the packaging during the day so you aren’t struggling in the dark.

Most fireworks require a stable base.  Find a solid bucket and fill it with earth or sand.  Have an extra bucket set aside full of water.  This can be used to defuse the fireworks that have already gone off and help you clean up the debris as you go.  Never try to re-lite a firework that does not go off the first time.  It’s hard to tell what’s going on inside the packaging.  Always be cautious of the wind.  If you think it may be a little too breezy, it’s best to postpone your celebrations for another night.

And if all of that is too much to deal with, why not pack up a few lawn chairs and enjoy a public display?  Most municipalities go above and beyond to ensure the safety of the spectators.  The fire department is usually on hand, and it’s a fun (and way less expensive) opportunity to celebrate the long weekend with a bang.

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