Firework Facts and Tips for Canada Day!

Some Facts about Fireworks in Ontario and Some Tips for Their Use This Canada Day!


          With the long weekend upon us, many will use fireworks to celebrate! This blog will focus on a brief history of fireworks and some safety tips!


Brief History


              Fireworks are an ancient tradition that date back to the 7th century in China. They have been used throughout history to mark important cultural festivities. They were discovered by a Chinese cook during the formulation of gun powder. The earliest forms of fireworks were composed of only three ingredients, saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal. It is believed that it was none other than Marco Polo who brought this invention to the Middle East millenniums later where it was eventually brought to England during the crusades and to the Americas in the 18th century.

              The same compounds of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal would continue to be used to develop firepower for the next 5 centuries. However the invention of what we now recognize as the modern firework owes its origination to the Italians who began manufacturing them for religious ceremonies as early as the 1400’s. Then in 1830 Italian chemists added colouring to the explosions and experimented with oxygen to make them burn longer and brighter, hereby inventing the modern firework as we know it.

              On July 1st 1867 the British North America Act, known today as the Constitution Act was established. Along with military displays, musical entertainment and the ringing of Cathedral bells, fireworks were used to celebrate the confederation of Canada. From the first Canadian celebration of our independence fireworks were used to rejoice and memorialise. Fireworks have been used for centuries for this very reason and to this day they remain an integral part of Canadiana.


Classes of Fireworks


              If you use fireworks you should be aware that you need different kinds of certificates for different kinds of fireworks. For display fireworks or special effect pyrotechnics, you must be certified by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

              In Canada fireworks are separated into three classes, Consumer, Display, and Special effect Pyrotechnics. Consumer Fireworks are low hazard and designed for recreational use. They include items like Roman candles, sparklers, fountains, volcanoes, mines and snakes. Display Fireworks are high – hazard and designed for professional use. They include items like aerial shells, cakes, Roman candles, waterfalls, lances and wheels. Special Effect Pyrotechnics are high – hazard and designed for professional use. They include items like gerbs, mines, comets, and crossettes, as well as special – purpose pyrotechnics made for live stage performances and the film and television industry.

              Consumer Fireworks are Not toys! Consumer Fireworks are, in fact, powerful pyrotechnic articles and, for this reason, both their sale and purchase are monitored and regulated. The Explosives Safety and Security Branch of Natural Resources Canada routinely tests fireworks and approves those that are safe to transport, store, handle, and use.


Tips for Safe Use!


              To ensure a fun but safe family fireworks display, it is important that simple safety procedures are always followed. Many provinces, cities, and municipalities have set their own restrictions on when and where fireworks may be enjoyed. It is important that you read and respect your local laws.

              When purchasing fireworks always follow the laws and regulations regarding the use of fireworks in your area. Purchase you fireworks from a reliable source that sells products meeting Canadian safety standards. Always stay away from illegal explosives or firecrackers and do not improvise or make your own fireworks.

              To minimize the risk of fire and burn injury, the fire service does not recommend family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays. The fire service recommends attending public fireworks displays hosted by your municipality or other responsible organization. If you still choose to have a family fireworks or an informal neighbourhood display, check with your local fire department about regulations regarding fireworks.

              When having a neighbourhood or family fireworks display there are many safety tips that should be observed. Appoint a responsible person to be in charge, only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks. Carefully read and follow the label directions in the firework’s packaging. Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.

              Bury fireworks that do not have a base halfway in a container of earth or sand unless the label indicates otherwise, and set them at a 10 degree angle pointing away from people. Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees, and dry grass. Keep onlookers up wind from where the fireworks are discharged, at a safe distance. Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light a dud firework. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait half an hour and soak them in a bucket of water, and dispose of them in a metal container.

              Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard. Keep sparklers away from children! Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness, and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some time after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury. If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention if necessary.

              It is illegal to drink and light fireworks at the same time! All smokers must be at least 8m away from the ignition site! Fireworks are popular, impressive, and fun, know the safety rules and respect the fireworks power!

We at HRC Insurance hope this has provided a little insight into how to safely use fireworks! Have a fantastic long weekend!

Since the 1900's...

Born under the name George Hutcheson, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. began providing insurance policies in Muskoka since the early 1900s. Bernard Reynolds joined the firm in the 1940s and purchased the firm from George Hutcheson in 1967. Finally, in 1980, David Caswell joined the company's ranks to complete Hutcheson, Reynolds and Caswell. We have grown along with our name and provide the same dedication to superior customer service and top-notch insurance coverage that George Hutcheson was famous for over 100 years ago.