As the skies are set to clear for Canada Day, the London Fire Department is hopeful that will bring more people out to public fireworks displays.

The fire department says it would prefer if Londoners went to any number of the public displays as a safety precaution.

“They’re heavily regulated, the people who shoot off the fireworks are very, very well trained and do it exactly right,” says Public Information Co-ordinator for the London Fire Department Rick Jefferson.

However, some Londoners still take it upon themselves to light up the night from their own backyard.

Jefferson is just hopeful that those doing so will do it safely.

“When using consumer fireworks, you should only light one firework at a time and only when they’re on the ground. Never try to light one when it’s in your hand, or ever try to re-light dud fireworks,” he says. “Another thing that people do a lot is give sparklers to children, they have no idea the serious burns that these can cause.”

Another source of worry for Jefferson is that Londoners will buy fireworks from unlicenced businesses.

“It’s a zero tolerance approach to people who sell fireworks, you cannot sell unlicensed fireworks or dangerous fireworks. Of course, if the fire department gets called out to a fire that’s caused by fireworks, there will be follow up by the city’s bylaw department as well. So it takes caution all around, from the people that sell them to the end user.”

One licenced seller, Bob’s Fireworks, is also preaching caution about buying unlicenced fireworks.

“The biggest problem with the unlicenced vendors, they can definitely be unsafe, but I would say more commonly, especially in the July selling period they just don’t work because they were sold in the May weekend and stored improperly,” says General Manager Michael Leff.

Leff says safety is a big proponent of their businesses, handing out safety sheets with each family fireworks display that they sell.

A release by the London Fire Department outlined what precautions Londoners can take if they’re considering lighting their own fireworks:

  • Only responsible adults who are aware of the hazards and appropriate care should handle or discharge fireworks. Never use illegal fireworks. Obtain approved consumer fireworks only from licensed vendors.
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
  • Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
  • Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials such as buildings, trees and dry grass.
  • Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard. Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
  • Be respectful of your neighbours.

Source: London Fire Department Hopeful Londoners Choose Public Firework Displays | (CFPL AM) AM 980