LETTER: Fireworks don’t cause injury, misuse of them does

Family Fireworks are safe and fun for the whole family

In your piece “Fire Services reminds residents fireworks are illegal in Abbotsford” residents are told that “Fireworks are basically small bombs and are not safe for untrained citizens,”  courtesy of Fire Chief Mike Helmer.

As the executive director of the Canadian National Fireworks Association (CNFA), I can assure you that family fireworks are safe when used according to guidelines!

Family Fireworks are regulated federally and endure rigorous testing before they can be sold and used in Canada.   As with all flammable products, caution must be taken when handling them.  Fireworks do not cause injuries; it is the misuse of fireworks that can lead to injuries or property damage.

The CNFA’s goal is to mitigate the potential for any personal injury or property damage as a result of fireworks usage.  According to statistics provided by Emergency Management BC, in the past 24 years, there have been 7 injuries and 0 deaths attributable to legal fireworks in British Columbia. In 2012, 0.42% of all fires in BC were attributable to fireworks; more fires are attributable to candles and ovens.  This serves to underscore the fact that fireworks are not a significant cause of injury, death or damage.

Education is the key to ensuring the safe use of fireworks.    From consumers to vendors to legislators, it is important to be aware and understand the safety guidelines to be followed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.   As a society, we must all take responsibility for ensuring that appropriate measures are taken when selling, storing and/or discharging fireworks.

Abbotsford remains a minority compared to municipalities across Canada that allow for the sale and use of fireworks.   As a resident of this city myself I know first-hand that since fireworks were banned in Abbotsford their use is still common and widespread within our community.  We now have citizens purchasing fireworks and using them quickly and irresponsibly so as to avoid law enforcement.  We have not eliminated the use of fireworks, but we have eliminated the opportunity for education.  Since Abbotsford banned federally approved fireworks, consumers run the risk of purchasing dangerous illegal explosives disguised as fireworks.

Fireworks are a beloved Canadian pastime and have been used in celebrations for many years.  They unite friends and family.  We must all do our part to ensure they continue to safely be an important part of our tradition.

Dominique Allen

Executive Director

Canadian National Fireworks Association