Should Fireworks Be Banned?

November 6, 2018

PAT PILCHER argues the case for banning the sale of fireworks to the general public, and instead having public fireworks displays.

Pet owners see early November as a nightmare on account of Guy Fawkes and the associated carnage that comes with it.

This year was no different with reports of horrible fireworks-related damage. In the UK, a blind woman had lit fireworks thrown at her and her guide dog. When police and emergency services responded, they too were pelted with lit fireworks.

In New Zealand, a cat suffered severe trauma after it had lit fireworks stuffed into its mouth. The cat’s distressed owner has confirmed that the vet bills are already more than $1,000 and climbing.

Then there’s the property damage caused by fireworks. Dry conditions coupled with fireworks being caught in the wind can cause large fires. NewsHub report that in a 24 hour period leading up to Guy Fawkes, New Zealand Fire Service responded to 26 fires started by fireworks throughout New Zealand. Several of these fires were large and their costs are likely to be significant.

As the costs of fireworks-related Incidents like these continue to mount up, it begs that the question: Should the sale of fireworks to the public be banned?

While pro fireworks folks can argue that it is a small number of irresponsible idiots ruining it for the rest, the medical and property costs of fireworks damage are huge. Insurance companies may cover the bulk of these, but the reality is that those costs are ultimately passed onto everyone in the form of raised insurance premiums. Why should we have to wear these costs?

Last year while out walking my dogs some idiot drove past and threw some lit fireworks out of the car window at us. They’d just been down the road, buying fireworks at a local pizza chain (who have not had my business or that of anyone I know since). I went in, complained, and asked that they show in store CCTV footage of the purchaser to the police. It turned out that their in-store cameras didn’t work. They had no idea who the purchaser was. They didn’t ask for ID as ‘he looked old enough’.

Perhaps if the sale of fireworks to the public is not to be banned, then there is scope for tightening up the sales process. Implementing measures such as the mandatory recording of proof of age ID and having to have in-store CCTV to record all sales might help curb some of the damage.

Sadly, even if such measures did come to pass, they still wouldn’t stop the intentional and accidental mayhem caused by fireworks. Personally, I don’t get it, the economics of buying and burning fireworks makes little to no sense. The fireworks sold nowadays seem to be getting more feeble with each passing year.

Soon it might be just as effective to set a $50 note on fire and cut out the middle person?

Public fireworks displays seem to make a whole lot more sense. Australia and a growing number of other countries have already banned the public sale of fireworks in favour of displays. Not only are these usually significantly safer than handing kids a bag of pyrotechnic devices and matches, but commercial fireworks used in public displays also provide a spectacle that makes what is available via to the public seem a little pathetic.

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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