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June 30, 2005
Media Advisory: Family fireworks safety
Toronto Fire Services invites the media to light various fireworks safely to
show the public how to avert tragedy from their misuse on Canada Day.

Date: Thursday, June 30

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Harbourfront Fire Station 334
339 Queens Quay W.

In 2005, Toronto Fire Services responded to 45 calls where fireworks were
reported to be the ignition source that resulted in $415,067 of property loss.

Family fireworks are not toys; they are, in fact, powerful pyrotechnic
articles. The misuse of fireworks by children and young adults is cause for
concern. Toronto Fire Services does not recommend backyard or family-gathering
fireworks, or informal neighbourhood displays. Instead, Toronto Fire Services
urge people to attend fireworks displays that are presented by trained

For more information on family fireworks safety, visit:

For more information on consumer fireworks regulations, visit:

For more information on the dangers of consumer fireworks, visit:

Fact Sheet: Fireworks safety

To ensure a safe family fireworks display, it is important that you follow
these safety tips.

Purchasing and storing:
1. Follow the laws
Follow the laws regarding the purchase, possession and use of family fireworks.

2. Only purchase authorized fireworks from reliable dealers
- You must be 18 years of age to purchase fireworks.
- All authorized fireworks will have a bilingual label.
- Do not be tempted to try to smuggle fireworks into Canada from another
country (e.g., the United States). In addition to this practice being illegal
and subject to heavy fines, fireworks that are not authorized in Canada may be
very violent or of suspicious quality and thus constitute a safety hazard to
you and your children.
- Making your own fireworks is prohibited.

3. Store fireworks properly
- Always store fireworks in a cool, dry place and keep them away from
children. Check instructions for special handling directions.
- The maximum amount of fireworks that can be stored in a dwelling is 10 kg
gross weight. Any amount in excess of this must be stored in a separate, locked

4. Do not transport fireworks in the passenger compartment of a vehicle
- Always put them in the trunk. In the absence of a trunk (e.g., van or
pick-up truck), transport fireworks in a non-sparking container with a lid.
- Do not smoke while loading, transporting or unloading fireworks.

5. Use fireworks outdoors
Never use fireworks indoors; they are designed for outdoor use only.

6. Choose a clear, open area
- Always use fireworks in an open area away from buildings, vehicles, overhead
obstructions and dry brush or grass, which could catch fire.
- A minimum clear area of 30 m by 30 m for aerial family fireworks, such as
Roman candles, and 20 m by 20 m for fountains and other ground-based items is

7. Check for wind
Check wind direction and wind speed. Fireworks should be lit with the
prevailing wind blowing away from spectators. Do not set off aerial fireworks
in strong winds.

8. Have water nearby
Keep a hose and a bucket of water close by in case of a malfunction, fire and
to douse used fireworks.

9. Read all instructions
Carefully read all the instructions for each firework item ahead of time.

10. Use ground-based fireworks on a hard surface
Always light ground-based fireworks (fountains, mines) on a hard, flat and
level surface to ensure stability of the item. Grass is typically not suitable;
lay down a cement block or patio stone and anchor on either side with a brick.

11. Bury aerial fireworks
For aerial fireworks (Roman candles), bury (do not pile) the device to half its
length in the ground or in a large pail or box filled with earth or sand.

12. Keep spectators safe
Keep all spectators at least 30 m (100’) away.

13. Use proper eye protection and wear proper clothing
- Protect your eyes with safety glasses or safety goggles. Regular
prescription glasses or sunglasses provide little or no protection and may
actually contribute to an injury.
- Wear non-flammable clothing such as cotton. Never wear synthetic fibres
(nylon, polyester) when firing.

14. Keep children away from fireworks
Never let children handle, play with or fire fireworks under any circumstances.
Even sparklers, which are considered by many as safe fireworks for children,
burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing.

15. Use care when handling fireworks
- Take care when handling fireworks to prevent dropping them.
- Do not carry fireworks in your pockets.
- Never smoke while handling fireworks.

16. Use care when firing fireworks
- When lighting, never put any part of your body or head over the firework,
never hand hold them or insert them into other means of containment such as
pipes, and never point or throw them at people.
- During the show, store the unused fireworks away from the firing area and
keep them covered to prevent stray sparks from prematurely setting them off.

17. Duds or misfires
Never attempt to re-light fireworks that have misfired (duds). Wait 30 minutes
and then place them in a bucket of water.

18. Clean-up after the show
Wait 30 minutes after the display has finished. Check the firing area for duds,
clean up all debris, and check it again the next morning.

Media contact:
Mike Strapko, Acting District Chief, Toronto Fire Services,
416-338-9319, 416-468-9399 (pager)



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