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Public firework displays: A safer option for everyone

Delphine Herbert
Fireworks  Flickr

Bright and colorful fireworks light up the skies in November each year. The loud explosives are a celebration and are entertaining for most people.

But for our beloved pets, this can be the most frightening time of the year, resulting in animals being petrified and running away from their homes.

Animal Control Manager Mark Vincent, says attending commercial or public events such as the New Brighton or Rolleston Fireworks displays are far better that random fireworks in neighborhoods.

“You have got to remember there are over 30,000 dogs in Christchurch city, there’s probably just as many cats and it’s a very stressful time for those animals and unfortunately we pick up the end pieces.”

Vincent says that the number of dog rescues that happen around this time increase by 10 percent for the following 3 weeks.


Fireworks are not only dangerous for animals, but for people as every year users get injured, vegetation catches fire and in some cases properties to.

Fire Risk Management officer Michael Balmer, says there are two common problems with the use of fireworks at home.

“The first problem is the careless use of fireworks by families that is; not thinking through aspects such as wind direction, resulting in the wind carrying the embers towards flammable material like vegetation or property, setting fireworks off too close to the house or next to trees and getting excited and doing silly things.”

Balmer says the second problem is generally associated with the combination of alcohol and groups becoming disorderly and careless when setting of fireworks or having large bonfires in their properties.

He says since the start of this month there have been 33 vegetation fires attributed to fireworks and two property fires in the Canterbury area and fire services are still receiving fireworks related calls to incidents.

In the past a ban on the public use of fireworks have been on the cards but Balmer says “There currently is no official FENZ position calling for a complete ban on fireworks in people's own back yard, or for the private use of fireworks.”

Fire Risk Management Officer Bruce Irvine says using fireworks is a dangerous activity as they explode and they fall over and you can’t control them once you have lit them.

“Unfortunately we’ve done it for years and every year people get injured because of it.”


More from Bruce Irvine here: