Firework deaths a tragic reminder

The recent deaths in the eastern states are a timely reminder of the dangerous nature of fireworks.
Date: Friday, 20 January 2017

If not handled correctly, fireworks can cause serious damage to property, significant personal injury or death.

The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) has issued a timely reminder following the recent deaths of two men, a number of significant injuries and 35 fires in the eastern states – all the result of the improper use of fireworks during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

DMP Dangerous Goods Team Leader Erin James said it is illegal to possess and use fireworks in WA without the appropriate licence.

“Since January 2012, 155 people and companies have been charged with fireworks offences in Western Australia,” Miss James said

“While there were no injuries involving fireworks reported during New Year’s Eve celebrations in WA, there were three significant incidents where illegal fireworks and flares caused bushfires.

“These tragedies, paired with the recent extreme temperatures and fires, are warnings to leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals.

“If you are in possession of fireworks or know someone who is, please don’t put yourself or your family at risk. Don’t touch them – please call the police.”

DMP Dangerous Goods officers will be monitoring a number of Australia Day fireworks events to ensure approved displays are conducted safely.

“These displays are set up and run by trained professionals who understand the associated risks and put in the appropriate controls in place,” Miss James said.

Such events are established in conjunction with local councils, Police and fire and emergency services to ensure contingency plans are in place to protect the public.

During total fire bans, licensed operators must apply for an exemption from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Information on storage, transport and handling of fireworks can be found on the Department of Mines and Petroleum website as well as a list of approved fireworks events.

While DMP regulates fireworks displays, it does not manage the events. For information regarding specific events please contact the event organiser.