Increased Fireworks call outs disappointing
Fire and Emergency New Zealand responded to 88 fireworks-related calls on Guy Fawkes yesterday, an increase of more than 30 compared to last year.
National Advisor Fire Risk Management Peter Gallagher says it is disappointing our 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 had 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."
Te Hiku (Auckland/Northland) was the busiest region with 49 callouts as of five-thirty this morning, several of which were to significant fireworks-related vegetation fires in Auckland city.
However, the 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 Gallagher 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."
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.