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9 Fireworks Safety Tips to Celebrate Canada Day

June 28, 2021
4 mins
A group of people watch a fireworks display

Fire up the barbecue, crack open a cold beverage, and wave the flag proudly: it’s Canada Day on July 1!

To celebrate our country’s 153rd birthday, you might be thinking of lighting a few fireworks to wow the kids and delight the neighbours. There’s nothing uncommon about that, but there are precautions you need to take to prevent an accident or fire that could result in injuries to others or damages to your home, in turn, prompting you to file a home insurance claim.

Here are nine fireworks safety tips to take before lighting up the night sky:

1. Be aware of municipal guidelines

Typically, you don’t need a permit to light firecrackers on your property on both Victoria Day and Canada Day, although in some cities like Calgary and Edmonton you do. Double-check with your local government and ensure there is no backyard fireworks ban in effect. If there is, and you choose to ignore it, if one of the fireworks you use causes injuries or damages and you file a claim, your home insurer may reject it because it’s an illegal activity. Furthermore, you could be charged by the police for doing so.

2. Don’t set off fireworks in high winds

Blasting a colourful ball of fiery light into the evening sky during strong winds is not a good idea. The wind could easily blow it onto a neighbour’s rooftop or into a nearby forest or grassy field and ignite a fire.

3. Buy and use legal fireworks

Purchase your fireworks from a reliable source (like a local retailer) that sells ones that meet safety standards, stay away from illegal explosives or firecrackers, and do not improvise and make your own. Always read the instructions and warnings on each firework you purchase before use.

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4. Choose an open space

Set up the fireworks outdoors in a clear, open space. Light them one-at-a-time from a bucket of sand on a hard, flat, level surface. Do not smoke while you’re near or are handling fireworks. Have an extra pail of sand, a supply of water, and a working fire extinguisher on-hand.

5. Keep people away from where you are igniting fireworks

On the fireworks label, it will state what is considered a safe distance onlookers should be when lighting the fireworks. Abide by it, ensure everyone else does, and keep children under constant supervision.

6. Be sober

Only adults who are 18 or older and who are not impaired by alcohol or drugs should handle fireworks. Never allow someone who is intoxicated or a child to light a firework.

7. Protect yourself

Wear protective eyeglasses and gloves. Light at arm’s length and then stand back. Never hold a lit firework in your hand, and refrain from leaning over fireworks when you’re lighting or have lit them. Keep your hair and clothes away from all fire sources. Also, don’t attempt to re-light a defective firework that failed to go off.

8. Douse sparklers after use

Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness, and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot after it burns out, it should be immediately soaked in water or immersed in a bucket of sand to avoid injury. If anyone suffers a burn, seek medical attention if necessary.

9. Dispose of used and unused fireworks safely

If you have leftover fireworks you did not use, or ones you did, don’t toss them in the garbage, recycling bin, or store them in the garage next to flammable materials like gasoline or paint. Submerge them in water and soak them overnight. Wrap the soaked fireworks in a plastic bag to keep them from drying out and put them in the garbage. Also, only dispose of used or unused[LG1] fireworks in small quantities – up to 10 at a time.

Putting on a dazzling display of fireworks on Canada Day can be fun and enjoyable when done safely. Protect your family, property, and neighbours and avoid having to file a home insurance claim. Happy Canada Day!

Source: Canada Safety Council.

Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile marketer with experience as a staff and freelance writer for many business and technology publications and newspapers. He previously worked as the editor and media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA, handling home, auto, and travel insurance topics.

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