Safety Tips for Setting Off Fireworks

Like many Canadians, fireworks and sparklers may be lighting up your night this Canada Day. And if you're hosting your own home fireworks display, a quick call to your home insurance provider to make sure you're covered-just in case-would be a bright idea as well. Because, as careful as you're going to be, sometimes things simply go wrong: wayward fireworks can cause injury to a guest or damage your home or a neighbour's home.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Minimize the chance of injury or property damage this Canada Day with these firework safety tips:

  • Check with your town's local by-laws to confirm if fireworks are legal, as well as when and where they can be set off. Some by-laws specifically prohibit fireworks while others state that fireworks are only permitted on Canada Day, July 1. If fireworks are permitted where you live, but bad weather forces you to cancel your backyard show, you may be able to set off your fireworks the day before or the day after.
  • Buy fireworks from a reliable source.
  • Only adults should buy, handle or set off fireworks.
  • Do not set off fireworks when it's windy as they may not go where you expect them to go.
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging and pay close attention to cautions and warnings.
  • Set up your fireworks outdoors, in a clear, open space away from buildings, trees and dry grass.
  • Store unused fireworks in a closed box, away from the firework being lit.
  • Keep spectators a safe distance away from the area where the fireworks are being set off.
  • Always keep a water hose or several pails of water close by, a bucket of sand and a working fire extinguisher.
  • Wear protective glasses and never lean over the fireworks. Keep your hair and clothes away from the firework, or the fire source being used to light it.
  • Do not smoke around fireworks. If you're impaired (alcohol or drugs), do not handle fireworks.
  • Light fireworks on a hard, flat and level surface.
  • Light fireworks at arm's length, standing back and keeping your face away.Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks.
  • For duds, wait 30 minutes and then soak them in a bucket of water.Sparklers, when burned out, should be doused with water.
  • If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.

Fireworks and your home insurance

If your backyard fireworks show damages your home or a neighbour's property, your home insurance policy would typically cover the damages. The same is true if someone is injured; your third party liability coverage would provide financial protection in the event you are sued. But, it's important to first make sure that fireworks are not banned where you live, because if they are—and you go on with the show—home insurance policies typically exclude damages resulting from illegal activities. Check in with the local authorities and your home insurance provider before lighting up the sky.

Fireworks are a blast, but only if you celebrate the Canada Day weekend safely. Stay safe, and have a great Canada Day long weekend.

Firework safety tip sources: Canada Safety Council, Natural Resources Canada and Toronto Fire Services.

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