By: Lifestyle reporter
New Year’s Eve is around the corner which means lighting up the night sky with fireworks is inevitable. The safe use of fireworks is always a concern during this time of the year. As well as adhering to the city bylaws.
Know the law
Improper use of fireworks is illegal in Johannesburg and it’s important to remind residents about the City’s strict fireworks regulations and the rights of residents to demand Council action against illegal fireworks usage.
A few facts:-
- Unless special Council authorisation has been applied for and granted, there are only 11 days annually when residents are allowed to “light or ignite” fireworks. Guy Fawkes and Diwali are such days. (R 500 fine on other days).
- Except for New Year’s Eve, the only permissible time period for igniting fireworks on these days is between 19h00 and 22h00 (7 to 10 pm). (R 500 fine at any other time).
- No person may light or ignite fireworks in any place where animals are present (R 1 000 fine). This includes domestic homes.
- No person may allow any minor (child) under his or her control to “use, light or ignite” fireworks (R 1 500 fine). No exceptions to this rule.
- No person may use fireworks on any agricultural holding or at any school or senior citizens’ residence without special Council authorisation ( R 1 000 to R 1 500 fine). This authorisation must be sought well in advance of intended day.
- No person can use fireworks within 500 metres of any petrol depot or petrol station without special Council authorisation ( R 1 500 fine).
- No person or organisation can “present a fireworks display” unless formally authorised to do so by the Council (at least 14 days’ notice before the display is required by Council to consider such an application). Authorisation is also required from the Civil Aviation Authority and the Chief Inspector of Explosives. (Multiple fines of R 1 500 are applicable).
- At such a display (should permission be granted) a pyrotechnist and SA Police Services explosives expert must be present at all times. (R 1 500 fines).
- No person may deal in fireworks (sell or make available) unless they hold a fireworks licence in terms of the Explosives Act as well as the written authority of the Chief Fire Officer.(R 1 500 fine).
The reign of terror which afflicts Johannesburg’s large pet population when people indiscriminately (and often criminally) ignite noisy fireworks at all times of the day and night gets worse every year.
- Firm enforcement of the by-laws will assist in reducing the noise and panic levels and allow people (and their pets) to plan for “noisy” periods thus producing a quieter, safer environment for all concerned.
10 Tips for fireworks safety this festive season
- Never leave the little ones near the fireworks unsupervised. Young children should not be allowed near fireworks. Older children and even adults should be constantly supervised.
- Having a designated fireworks supervisor.
- Don’t play pranks or play around with fireworks. It’s dangerous and not funny.
- Don’t pick up the discarded, used fireworks. These are still likely to be hot and there’s a chance of them going off again.
- Never hold sparklers with your bare hand or light more than one at a time.
- All fireworks are for outdoor use only.
- Keep your pets safely inside. Pets are affected by the loud noise and it is advised to speak to your vet for a calming solution for them.
- Don’t pick up fireworks that didn’t light the first time.
- Always read the instructions on the packaging.
- Soak all your fireworks in water the next day before discarding.
We hope you apply these fireworks safety tips and that you stay safe this New Year’s Eve.