Fireworks on New Year's Eve
Tips for a secure start into the New Year
The beginning of a new year is seldom silent. 2017 will also be welcomed before the loud noise of a bright and colorful night sky. To light fireworks at New Year’s Eve is a tradition that fascinates young and old equally.
Nevertheless, the many risks are reflected by the statistics that are served to us right away on the next day: once again, countless accidents, no breaks for fire brigades and ambulances.
The European Consumer Centre Austria (ECC) and the Verein für Konsumenteninformation (VKI) summarised the most important tips and information to keep you and your loved ones safe.
What to consider when purchasing
Check if the fireworks have a CE-label. Only then do they apply to European safety standards. It proves whether or not is is a tested product or cheap and substandard and therefore potentially dangerous.
It is recommended to rather buy fireworks from European production. Safety standards of the final product as well as for the production process will most likely be higher. As the VKI reports in an article, companies in India and China still employ kids for the fabrication of pyrotechnic articles.
The registration number shows the category of the fireworks, indicated by the fifth and sixth digit (xxxx – yy – zz). Fireworks are classified in four categories, according to their hazard potential and noise level. For each of those categories, different rules apply about who (age, education) can use them where (closed room, outdoor, uninhabitated area etc.).
The Austrian postal service does not transport pyrotechnic articles. This requires specially secured vehicles. If you order your fireworks online, make sure that the delivery is managed. When ordering from non-EU countries, customs charges may apply. The ECC recommends buying fireworks at specialist traders and getting advice from a trained seller.
Where are fireworks allowed?
It is generally prohibited to fire fireworks in urban areas, unless you have a special permit from the mayor.
This also applies to the following areas: immediate surroundings of churches or other houses of god, hospitals, kindergardens, retirement homes, animal shelters, zoos. Common sense, as well as the law, also prohibits any kind of fireworks nearby highly flammable or explosive goods or places, like petrol stations, and near gatherings or sport events.
Besides the legal conditions, the needs of others should also be considered. Check your surroundings before starting the fireworks. Are there any children or anxious people near you? Keep a generous safety distance and warn bystanders in advance. Explain to children and unexperienced spectators what safety rules they have to respect. Always have a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher at hand.
Maybe there are animals to keep in mind? New Year’s Eve can be very stressfull for dogs and other pets as the noise scares them.