spectacular explosions: fireworks

Spectacular explosions: What does the law say about fireworks?

The holidays are gone. What is taking long to wane off are the memories of the fan far, the celebrations, the happiness, being with family, the smiles of little babies, and the fireworks which lit up the midnight sky, as we ushered in the new year, 2010.

Fireworks are spectacular explosions, used for display or in celebrations. The word “fireworks’ is also synonymous to an outburst of anger, or a display of great skill or energy.

But did you know that fireworks, the spectacular explosions, are treated as explosives and are regulated as such, under the law?

Suffice to note that the fireworks we use to celebrate are manufactured for that purpose and are often referred to as “manufactured fireworks. According to the Explosives (Fireworks) Rules 1962, “manufactured fireworks” means any authorized explosive and any firework composition when such explosive or composition is enclosed in any case or contrivance, or is otherwise manufactured so as to form a squib, cracker, serpent, rocket (including rockets to produce rain), maroon, lance, wheel, Chinese fire, Roman candle, coloured flare or other article specially adapted for the production of pyrotechnic, smoke or sound effects, or signals”

Licenses

Fireworks are distributed by licensed importers. The license is valid for the year it is issued. specifically, the Explosives (Fireworks) Rules provide that, “every importer’s licence shall be valid from the day of issue and shall expire on the thirty-first day of December following the date of issue”. Sale of fireworks to children is prohibited.

Public fireworks display

Public firework display must be done with the written consent of an inspector. Fireworks display should be held only in authorised venues such as clubs, hotels, school compounds, sports grounds, temples and other such venues as may be authorised by Inspectors of Explosives.

Display of fireworks is limited only four hours—between 7pm and 11pm. Any display outside those hours must be sanctioned by the inspector. Fireworks must not be displayed in residential areas. Displays of fireworks in residential areas must be with “noiseless fireworks” mainly to protect children.

Storage of fireworks

Fireworks should be stored in any shop owned or operated by the holder of a valid importer’s or dealer’s licence manufactured fireworks may be stored up to a limit of 50 kilograms net weight in drawers, glass-fronted show-cases or on glass-covered shelves without electric fittings, provided the drawers, cases and shelves are kept clean and closed (but need not be locked) and the fireworks are not kept or stored with foodstuffs;

  1. in storage premises adjacent to the shop, manufactured fireworks may be stored in quantities up to 100 kilograms gross weight either in substantial receptacles of a type approved by an inspector or contained in their original unopened cases as packed by the manufacturer;
  2. manufactured fireworks in quantities exceeding 100 kilograms gross weight and up to such a maximum as an inspector may decide, having regard to the location of the storage, shall be stored in a fireproof room, ventilated by means other than by windows, and having a steel-plated lockable door marked conspicuously on the outside with the words “FIREWORKS STORE—NO SMOKING”;
  3. firework composition shall only be stored in a building attached to a licensed factory with the written approval of an inspector and subject to such terms and conditions as he shall specify;
  4. any article or substance of a highly inflammable nature or any article liable to cause fire or explosion shall be kept at a safe distance from any firework and from any building or receptacle containing fireworks; Bengal matches and matches other than safety matches shall not be stored with fireworks;

Other considerations

When using fireworks, take note of the provisions of the law on nuisance and noise pollution. Fan fare must be so, from the beginning to the end.

Looking forward to fireworks at the end of this year. 11 more months to go!

BY SAMALI BITALA

The law permits sharing.
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