Setting off fireworks: Barrie Fire Department never recommends them as a good idea unless it’s a professional show

Fire officials urge people to put safety first

In an ideal world, the Barrie Fire Department never recommends people set off their own fireworks.

“We never recommend fireworks as a good idea, “said public information officer Samantha Hoffmann. “We always recommend a professional show.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of outdoor municipal fireworks displays across the country. While virtual events are taking place, there is every likelihood more people will want a fireworks show of their own.

Hoffman hopes people in Barrie will celebrate Canada Day with the city’s virtual fireworks.

“It sounds like a really cool way to celebrate Canada Day without any of the risk.”

For those who are going to set off fireworks, Hoffmann said people should go on to the City of Barrie website and review the bylaw. She said fireworks can be done on personal property but not city property.

It’s important people follow the manufacturer instructions and make sure the fireworks have been approved.

“You can tell the fireworks are approved to be used in Canada if the instructions are both in English and French. If they are not, that should be the first warning sign that these are not necessarily safe to be used here.” said Hoffmann.

In her career and in her personal life, Hoffmann has seen the hazard fireworks can pose.

“As a family we used to do a street fireworks show every year. We always felt it was very safe because we had a wheelbarrow of sand, a bucket of water and a hose, and my husband wore gloves that hydro linemen wear for hand protection.”

The last year they did the show, about a decade ago, Hoffmann recalled they had a dud firework that they left in the sand for about three hours, and when her husband returned to pick it up and put it in the bucket of water, the movement set it off. She said if he wasn’t wearing gloves he would have lost his fingers.

“It really drove home the importance of how dangerous these explosives are. They are beautiful. They create great memories. But leave it to the professionals.”

Hoffman also wants parents to consider the risk of giving their children sparklers. She said what you are handing them is flaming metal.

“Sparklers burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Glass will melt at 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Water boils at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet, we are handing little children a sparkler at 1,200 degrees. It’s really dangerous.”

Hoffmann prefers children use glow sticks.

“Kids can have a lot of fun with those and be confident they are not going to hurt themselves.”