Fireworks are the go-to staple when it comes to celebrating big holidays. Case in point: The New Year's fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge every year. But while fireworks may be pretty - and loud - they can be dangerous if handled irresponsibly. So to ensure everyone stays safe while celebrating in loud colourful style, we're going to dive into how to use fireworks safely, fireworks safety around children and pets, and fireworks legality in Australia.
Just remember that if you need support or someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.
Safety and responsible handling are paramount when using fireworks, which can only be obtained if you have the required permit (more on this in the section below about firework legality).
When using fireworks, make sure you:
Never use fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Light one firework at a time. Never twist fuses together as this can become very dangerous
Always wear hearing protection when engaging in fireworks activities
Do not place any part of your body directly over a firework device. Always maintain a safe distance after lighting a firework.
Keep a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby in case of a fire.
Never shoot fireworks off in glass or metal containers.
Avoid carrying fireworks in your pocket.
Do not try to pick up or re-light a firework that hasn’t ignited fully. There's a risk it can still go off and cause injury.
If an injury occurs due to a firework:
Remove clothing from the burned area.
If it is an eye injury, do not touch, rub, or flush the eye out with water.
Call an ambulance immediately and seek medical treatment from a doctor or hospital ASAP.
Fireworks and young children
It probably goes without saying that young children should never be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks. There are equally pleasing and safer alternatives available for kids, such as glow sticks, silly string, party poppers, and confetti cannons. Make sure that there's always adult supervision whenever young children are playing with any of the aforementioned items.
Fireworks and pets
Pets can be easily frightened or stressed by loud noises due to their sensitive ears. If your pets are going to be in the vicinity of fireworks then it's important to properly prepare them ahead of time. Some of the things you can do to get them settled include:
Exercise - Gets rid of excess energy and may have a calming effect.
Bring them indoors - The more protected they are from the noise, the calmer and safer they will be.
Prepare a safe space - Draw the curtains and close any windows and blinds.
Stay together - Act natural, they may think the danger is less real.
Put gentle music on - The sound can take away from the noise.
Sometimes pets can get loose and bolt at the sound of fireworks, so it's important to make sure your pet is micro-chipped and has a tag or some form of identification so that it can be easily found.
Firework legality across Australia
Generally speaking, it is illegal to buy, possess, or discharge fireworks unless you have the right permit. Having said that, the laws are slightly different depending on which state or territory you're in:
NSW - It is illegal to buy, possess or discharge fireworks unless you hold a pyrotechnician or single-use licence. NSW SafeWork must be notified of all fireworks displays, authorised events can be found using our fireworks display search.
QLD - Only trained and licensed professionals who understand the hazards and risks are authorised to buy, store, transport or use display fireworks. Possessing or using display fireworks without a licence is a criminal offence. Licences can be issued for:
Fireworks contractors - individuals or companies that are hired to organise a fireworks display.
Fireworks operators - who conduct fireworks displays for the fireworks contractor.
VIC - It is an offence to set off fireworks in public without a council permit to do so. The maximum penalty is five penalty units (one penalty unit is currently a $184.92 fine).
SA - You must hold a pyrotechnician's licence or work under the direct supervision of a licensed pyrotechnician to use fireworks (excluding general-use fireworks like sparklers, bonbons, and toy pistol caps).
WA - The use of fireworks by the general public is banned in WA, except for unrestricted fireworks such as bonbons, party poppers, Christmas crackers, throwdowns and sparklers. Fireworks event permits are required for:
A single fireworks event.
A group of consecutive events at the same venue - where the intervening time is no more than 48 hours.
ACT - Fireworks may only be used in a fireworks display in the ACT (including small-scale fireworks displays conducted as part of a performance or ceremony) if:
The fireworks products to be used in the display are authorised for use in the ACT as an explosive article under the Dangerous Substances (Explosives) Regulation 2004 and
The person who is to be responsible for conducting the fireworks display has applied for, and been issued with, a fireworks display permit.
TAS - Fireworks displays held without a permit are illegal and attract severe monetary fines. Anyone 18 years or older can apply for a Cracker Night fireworks permit. If a permit is issued, it allows Type 2 fireworks to be used. Cracker Night falls on 24 May each year. If this date is not a Saturday the following Saturday will apply. All other fireworks displays must be conducted:
By a pyrotechnician endorsed by WorkSafe Tasmania or another WHS regulator
For an ‘approved purpose’ type of fireworks display only.
NT - Only holders of a Northern Territory pyrotechnics licence are allowed to apply for a fireworks permit. Fireworks operators must be trained in the use of fireworks and operate to a national standard. The following are the approved periods for Territory Day Celebrations:
Sell shop goods fireworks between 9 am - 9 pm on 1 July.
Throw, ignite or explode shop goods fireworks between 6 pm - 11 pm on 1 July.
Possession of shop goods fireworks for consumers is between 9 am on July 1 - 12 pm on 4 July.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Information sourced from: SafeWork, WorkSafe #1, WorkSafe #2, WorkSafe #3, Legal Aid Victoria, and KidsHealth
Image credit: The Simpsons
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