Increased fireworks call outs “disappointing”

Firefighters have attended more fireworks related callouts this year than last year.

Firefighters responded to 88 fireworks-related calls on Guy Fawkes on Tuesday, an increase of more than 30 compared to last year.

National advisor fire risk management Peter Gallagher says it is disappointing fire crews were called out more often on Guy Fawkes night this year.

"We’ve been focussing strongly on education about safety in the lead up to Guy Fawkes. We’d hoped with more information out there we would continue to see a decrease in incidents compared to previous years.

"So, it is frustrating some people are still not taking the weather conditions into account or using fireworks safely."

Firefighters were called to 16 fireworks related callouts in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty areas, with more of the calls being in the Bay of Plenty, says a Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesperson.

Te Hiku (Auckland/Northland) was the busiest region with 49 callouts as of 5.30am Tuesday, several of which were to significant fireworks-related vegetation fires in Auckland city.

Safety messages appear to be getting through in the South Island, where there were only eight fireworks-related call outs in total.

Since fireworks went on sale on Saturday, November 2, Fire and Emergency New Zealand has attended 135 fireworks-related incidents.

But Peter stresses this isn’t the end of fireworks season.

"We expect the weekend to be a busy one, and once again want to stress the importance of safe use.

"Anyone thinking of using fireworks over the weekend should consider the weather conditions, ensure there’s someone responsible to light the fireworks and us them safely."

Safety Tips:

-Don’t light fireworks in windy or dry conditions.

-Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using any fireworks.

-Light your fireworks in a wide-open area, away from anything that could catch fire, like dry grass, leaves or crops, or flammable gases or liquids.

-Keep a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher handy.

-Point fireworks at the sky, not your mates.

-Refer to your local bylaws for the rules around using fireworks in your area. In many places, you're only allowed to light fireworks on private property.

Please note the numbers quoted are provisional until final counts can be confirmed.


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