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Fireworks safety campaign 2008 launched

MEDIA RELEASE

17 October 2008

Fireworks safety campaign 2008 launched

The New Zealand Fire Service, New Zealand Police, Ministry for the Environment, and the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) are coming together for a third consecutive year to launch a safety campaign to remind those celebrating Guy Fawkes that acting responsibly with fireworks will ensure a fun and successful event for all.

Included are posters for retail outlets selling fireworks; around 50,000 safety brochures, which will be distributed nationwide; advertisements; and a website, www.guyfawkessafety.govt.nz, to promote fireworks safety in a campaign that looks to be making a positive difference in the reduction of damage caused by fireworks.

"Guy Fawkes is traditionally a busy time for firefighters, but I'm pleased to say that last year was an improvement on the previous year in terms of the emergency callouts we attended," said Fire Service National Commander Mike Hall. "This year we'd like to see the good work continue, with even more of a reduction in callouts."

"Making the 2008 Guy Fawkes celebrations safe and fun for family and friends is easy if we all follow some simple rules and act responsibly," added Mr Hall.

"A safe and fun way to celebrate Guy Fawkes with your community is to attend an organised public fireworks display," said Rob Forlong, Chief Executive of ERMA New Zealand. "Public fireworks displays allow families and friends to relax and enjoy spectacular pyrotechnics in a controlled environment with less risk to themselves and their neighbours, pets or buildings."

The Guy Fawkes safety website, www.guyfawkessafety.govt.nz, lists public fireworks displays across New Zealand to help people find a celebration in their community. It also includes downloadable safety posters, brochures, and safety tips and resources to help families who don't wish to attend a community celebration host a safe fireworks display at home.

Over the past two years, ERMA New Zealand has introduced new safety rules amid public concern about damage due to fireworks. They include a minimum age of 18 for purchasing fireworks; a shortened fireworks sale period, from 2-5 November; limitations on the sale of sparklers; and the introduction of a code of practice for those staging outdoor public fireworks displays. New regulations limiting the explosive sound levels of retail fireworks may make for happier pets this Guy Fawkes.

-ENDS-

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