Friday 20th Sep 2019

Anna Cox - The Star - 

Wholesalers and resellers who don't comply with the city by-laws will be issued with fines, according to the City of Joburg.- 

Johannesburg - The City of Joburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) is targeting sellers of fireworks to ensure the safety of people using these during the Christmas and New Year period.
The city said its public safety department had already started with the citywide by-laws enforcement operations in a bid to make sure that all the fireworks wholesalers, resellers and dealers were complying with the city fire services by-laws, the safe use of fireworks, fireworks display, storage and dealing in fireworks. Wholesalers and resellers who did not comply with the by-laws would be issued with fines, varying depending on the infringement and the amount of fireworks seized from the premises.

City of Joburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said: “The city would like to urge the residents of the city to take care when setting off fireworks during this festive season, and has given a few tips on safety. As residents of the city get ready to celebrate and see out the year with a bang, the city has warned residents to use fireworks with care. Every year, accidents happen, injuring children, adults and animals, when fireworks are misused or abused. When it comes to setting off fireworks, there are rules. The city reminds its citizens about the by-laws, which state that no one under the age of 16 is allowed to handle or use fireworks, except if they are supervised by an adult. Retailers may not sell fireworks to a child under the age of 16,” he added.

Fireworks were prohibited in certain areas, including inside buildings; on agricultural holdings; at schools, old-age homes and hospitals; and within 500 metres of an explosives factory, explosives storage or petrol station.

Those planning their own fireworks shows were urged to keep in mind the dangers inherent in their use, and to remember safety tips:

Pick a site that is appropriate for lighting the crackers;
Safety is a priority and clothes must be resistant to fire;
Check the wind direction before starting the display; and
Pick up all the remains of the fireworks and keep them out of children’s reach.

In addition, revellers should read the instructions provided with each firework; never throw ignited crackers at animals; always stand well back; never return to a cracker once it has been lit because it might go off in your face; always give fireworks plenty of room to explode; always light crackers in an open space; be considerate and don't endanger other members of the public.
Animals should be looked after while fireworks were being set off. Fireworks can cause a great deal of stress to pets. Animals should be kept indoors. It is also advisable to close curtains and turn on the TV or radio to distract the pets, he said. Frightened animals could hurt themselves and even run away if left alone, and the results could be fatal. Pets running loose were in danger of being hit by vehicles.

Fireworks were allowed to be set off between 11pm on New Year’s Eve until 1am on New Year’s Day. To stage a fireworks display, permission must be sought in writing from the fireworks working committee or from the chief fire officer in a region. The application must reach the committee or the chief fire officer 14 days in advance to allow members of the public to launch any objections. There may be requirements that fireworks displays be presented only on premises designated as suitable by the council and under the supervision and control of an official designated by the council.

Permission must also be sought to set off fireworks in private yards. In the application, the person must outline the plan of the house, including any overhead pylons. A site inspection by the EMS would also be conducted.

On days of cultural and religious celebrations, no permission was required to use fireworks, but it must be done within the times stipulated – these days include Christmas Eve and the Day of Goodwill, where displays can be held between 7pm and 10pm.

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