Pre-fireworks planning called for

Fire and Emergency New Zealand community risk manager James Knapp holds a fire extinguisher, one...
Fire and Emergency New Zealand community risk manager James Knapp holds a fire extinguisher, one of the many things people could have nearby before using fireworks this Guy Fawkes Day tomorrow. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
People are encouraged to plan ahead before lighting fireworks tomorrow, Guy Fawkes Day.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Otago district community risk manager James Knapp said there was always a spike in fireworks-related calls at this time of year.

Many were related to burns and vegetation and structure fires, Mr Knapp said.

This year, each call would be logged and up-to-date data would be available to view online to show people the impact of fireworks.

Fenz encouraged attendance of professional fireworks displays.

‘‘They are going to be way cooler than anything you can buy [at] a retailer,’’ Mr Knapp said.

Organisers would have also been through the necessary compliance process and secured the required licences.

Mr Knapp urged people planning to let off their own fireworks to take precautions.

That involved checking the weather forecast and having a way to extinguish a potential fire.

‘‘If they want to use fireworks at home, spend a little time thinking about how they can do so safely.’’

Fireworks can only be bought and displayed for four days prior to and including Guy Fawkes Day.

That period started on Tuesday and ends tomorrow.

Only people 18 years and over can buy fireworks.

The SPCA advocates for the private sale and use of fireworks to be banned in New Zealand due to the harm and distress they cause animals.

The society’s scientific officer Dr Alison Vaughan said each year it received fireworks-related calls about injured, distressed or missing animals.

Occasionally, some animals were deliberately harmed by fireworks, Dr Vaughan said.

‘‘We encourage people not to purchase or use fireworks, but to instead attend public displays where possible.’’

Fireworks could be frightening for animals so the best way to keep them safe was to plan ahead.

‘‘Whether you have a dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbits, keep your pets inside with doors and window shut and the curtains drawn — this will help to muffle any loud bangs and bright flashes.

‘‘You can also turn on your TV or radio to help drown out the noise.’’

Dr Vaughan encouraged people to ensure they had a safe, comfortable place for their pet to hide.

Dogs should be exercised earlier in the day to avoid being out when fireworks could be set off, and cats should be inside before dark.

‘‘It’s also a really good time to make sure your pet’s microchip details are up to date with your contact details in case they do panic and run away, as this could help them to be reunited with you.’’

Dr Vaughan urged people not to let fireworks off near large animals, such as horses.

They should be kept in their usual paddocks unless there is a fireworks display nearby.

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