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May 16, 2006
Media Advisory - Fireworks safety tips
Toronto Fire Services invites the media to light various fireworks safely in an effort to show residents how to avert tragedy from their misuse on Victoria Day.

Date: Wednesday, May 17
Time: 10:30 a.m. (weather permitting - time may change if raining)
Location: Downsview Park, elevated parking lot (southeast of Sheppard Ave. W. and John Drury Dr.)

Toronto Fire Services was concerned by the number of fires caused by the careless use of fireworks during the 2005 Victoria Day holiday weekend.

In 2005, Toronto Fire Services responded to 66 calls in which fireworks were reported to be the ignition source, and which resulted in $430,168 of property loss. Forty incidents happened within a week of Victoria Day (accounting for 61 percent of the total calls received) and nineteen incidents occurred within the week of Canada Day (19 per cent of the total calls received).

Fireworks are not toys. They are powerful pyrotechnic articles. The misuse of fireworks by children and young adults is of major concern and has led some City officials to consider banning the sale and use of consumer/family fireworks.

The Toronto Fire Services does not recommend backyard or family-gathering fireworks, or informal neighbourhood displays. Instead, the Toronto Fire Services strongly encourages residents to attend fireworks displays prepared and put on by trained fireworks professionals and organized by responsible organizations.

However, for those that will light fireworks on Victoria Day, the Toronto Fire Services offers the following safety tips, to help avert a possible tragedy through their misuse:
  • purchase fireworks from a reliable source
  • always read and follow the label directions
  • prior to use, keep fireworks and sparklers out of the reach of children - preferably in a locked cupboard or drawer. Please ensure children are unable to access these materials in order to avert potential injury and even death.
  • while children make a perfect audience, they should not light fireworks. Adults are responsible for handling all materials while spectators watch from a safe distance.
  • only one adult should ignite the fireworks. With the exception of sparklers, fireworks are not meant to be handheld.
  • prior to igniting, make sure fireworks are buried at least halfway down into a bucket of sand or earth. If portable firing bases are not available, plant them directly in the ground and ensure each piece is firmly supported before igniting.
  • always have water handy (garden hose and bucket) to soak fireworks that continue to smolder after firing
  • light the fireworks at arms length, standing back and keeping your face away. If a firework fails to ignite, do not attempt to re-light it. Let it sit in the base for several minutes and then douse it with water.
  • sparklers should also 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 nearby combustible material.
  • do not use fireworks or sparklers indoors
  • never throw or point fireworks at other people
  • never carry fireworks in your pocket
  • never light fireworks in metal or glass containers
  • people lighting fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of their body over the firework
  • fireworks are only permitted to be used on designated holidays, such as Victoria Day (Scarborough is the exception).

For more information about family fireworks safety, visit

For more information about consumer fireworks regulations, see

Media contacts:

Mike Strapko
Acting District Chief
Toronto Fire Services
Captain David Sheen, Toronto Fire Services, 416-338-0044



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