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May 19, 2009
Fireworks safety: plan, prepare, protect and prevent
Toronto Fire Services wants to remind people about the safe use of fireworks and sparklers at Victoria Day celebrations this weekend.

“Fireworks are dangerous. They have the potential to cause serious injury,” said Fire Chief Bill Stewart. “Responsible adults should be supervising fireworks displays. If you plan to host your own display, please take the time to plan, prepare, protect and prevent.” Displays or discharges are required to be in accordance with our fireworks ByLaw 1422-2007(Municipal Code 466).

Toronto Fire Services hopes this message is taken seriously in the wake of last year’s increase in fires over the Victoria Day weekend. In 2008, fire crews responded to 30 fireworks-related fires in the city that caused over $110,000 in fire loss.

“A fire or injury caused by an ignited pyrotechnic can be fatal,” said Chief Stewart. “I have seen the results of fireworks displays where the time was not taken to plan the event properly, to prepare the area where the display was taking place, to protect the children and adults from danger, and to prevent the possibility of fires and injuries from occurring. I urge all parents to consider their responsibilities when it comes to using these explosives during their private fireworks displays.”

While Toronto Fire Services would prefer to have families visit a public fireworks display in the community, Fire is providing a list of safety tips for adults considering hosting their own backyard display:

• Fireworks are only permitted to be used without a permit on designated holidays (Victoria Day and Canada Day).
• Purchase fireworks from reliable sources and always read and follow the label directions.

• Prior to using your fireworks and sparklers, they should be kept out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard or drawer. Ensure that children are unable to access these materials.
• Prior to ignition, fireworks should be 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 making sure each piece is firmly supported before igniting.

• 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 indoors.
• While children make a perfect audience, they should never be permitted to light fireworks. Adults are responsible for handling all fireworks materials while spectators watch from a safe distance.
• Only one adult ignites fireworks. Fireworks are never meant to be hand-held.
• Always have water at hand (garden hose and bucket) to soak fireworks that continue to smoulder after firing.

• Light the fireworks at arms 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 several minutes and then douse it with water.
• The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have 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 shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

For more information about fireworks, visit

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and livability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Toronto Fire Services Media Line, 416-338 -0763



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