Safe use of consumer fireworks

Setting fireworks off safely

Consumer-grade or family-grade fireworks are not toys, but truly powerful pyrotechnics. That’s why their sale and purchase are regulated. Natural Resources Canada’s Explosives Regulatory Division routinely inspects pyrotechnical products and approves those that are safe to transport, store, handle and use.

To make sure your family fireworks event proves both safe and enjoyable, adhere strictly to the simple, safe-handling guidelines below. That said, multiple provinces, cities and municipalities have their own rules and restrictions on when and where fireworks can be used, hence the importance of acquainting yourself with local laws and regulations, and complying with them.

  1. Wait at least 30 minutes before approaching a firework that hasn’t ignited after lighting.
  2. Never try to relight a firework if it doesn’t ignite the first time.
  3. Never try to repair a defective firework.
  4. Never hold fireworks that you’re trying to light or that are already lit, except if the manufacturer’s instructions say that they’re designed to be handheld.
  5. Choose a large open area away from obstacles.  Check the safety instructions on the product label for the minimum distance required between spectators and fireworks.
  6. Read ALL instructions on each firework and determine in advance the order in which you’ll set them off.
  7. Keep water close by, and place used fireworks and any debris in a bucket of water.
  8. Adult supervision is required for anyone under 18 who might use your fireworks.
  9. Store your fireworks in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place that children can’t access.
  10. For fireworks that don’t have their own base, insert them about halfway down in a container (wheelbarrow, box, bucket) filled with sand or soil, except if the instruction label says otherwise. Place them at a 10-degree angle, pointing away from spectators.
  11. Set up a solid launch/ignition base, like a robust bucket filled with sand or soil.
  12. If it’s windy, do NOT set off fireworks.
  13. Ignite the firework carefully: always light the very end of the fuse or wick.
  14. Wearing safety goggles is recommended.