Using fireworks? Get a permit, says fire department
By Alex Luong, Staff Writer
On the night of Nov. 4, a grass and brush fire blazed through Elliston Park in the southeast part of Calgary. This is one of several other grass and brush fires that occurred around the city that day, along with another fire at Stoney Trail by McKnight Boulevard.
“One of the grass fires was actually threatening a high pressure gas regulation station. If our fire crews hadn’t gotten there so quickly and put out the fire before it reached that, there might have been some serious consequences,” Calgary Fire Department Official Carol Henke said in an interview with Global News.
According to the City of Calgary, the cause of the fire appears to be the careless use of fireworks. Many of the fires were also in close proximity to public places and property. There were no injuries or casualties reported during the fires.
The Calgary Fire Department also stated that the only people allowed to discharge fireworks are certified and trained professionals that have received a fireworks permit.
If citizens are caught without a permit, fines can go up to $100,000 and up to six months of jail time for the first offence. For a second offence, fines go up to $500,000 and up to one year of jail time.
GlobalFest, an organization that has an annual firework display every summer at Elliston Park has trained and certified professionals to discharge their fireworks. Chief Operating Officer Ken Goosen talks about the risk of using fireworks without a permit.
“You have to understand your product. You need to know the safety distances. You need to know the risk factors. You need to have fire abatement plans in there. So if you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you don’t go,” Goosen said.
According to the Government of Canada, there had been 122 reported cases of unintentional injuries related to fireworks and other similar products from 2011-2019. Nearly three-quarters of all cases (72.9 per cent) required medical treatment in the emergency departments, while 10.7 per cent of patients were admitted to hospitals. Many of the casualties were male teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 representing the largest proportion at 12 cases, closely followed by adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 at 11 cases.