‘Childhood memories’: Firework safety tips in celebrating Victoria Day

While there are no city- or community-planned firework displays for Victoria Day, the City of London and the London Fire Department are reminding residents to follow firework bylaws this long weekend.

Backyard fireworks are only permitted on Victoria Day (May 23), Canada Day (July 1) and Saturday, July 2, between dusk and 11 p.m. this year for London.

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Victoria Day 2022 — What’s opened and closed in London, Ont.

“Anything after 11 p.m. would be considered an issue for noise and possibly nuisance,” said Matt Hepditch, deputy fire chief of fire prevention and public education for the London Fire Department. “One thing I don’t think a lot of people know is that the actual fireworks come with instructions for discharge.”

Hepditch recommends following the operating directions listed by manufacturers as instructions vary between every firework.

Below is a list of other safety tips for backyard fireworks suggested by Hepditch:

  • Ensure a solid base before takeoff (a strong, flat patch of dirt is a great place to light off your fireworks).
  • Fireworks should only be handled by adults who are aware of the hazards at risk.
  • Aim fireworks away from any structures (houses, sheds, trees, etc.).
  • Be aware of wind speed (fireworks become more of a hazard on windy days).
  • Have water on standby in case of a fire.

According to Hepditch, fire crews receive a variety of emergency calls pertaining to burns and sparked fires due to improper firework use.

“Sparklers especially as they burn at a very high and very intense heat,” said Hepditch. “But we just have to make sure that people are really careful, and everybody should have a good time and a good show.”

Michael Leff of Bob’s Fireworks in London says the days are getting busier as crowds start to pile in ahead of the long weekend.

“This has been my whole life and we’re now working with a lot of customers into the third generation. Everything about it is a cool experience,” said Leff.

With a business started over 50 years ago by his father, Leff said he continues to enjoy seeing the number of people gearing up to “make their own shows” year after year.

“Fireworks bring people back to their childhood memories,” said Leff. “It’s also kind of a limited-time thing. We can only do it twice a year so it’s kind of special that way.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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