State warns not to go crackers over fireworks

05 November 2011

State is urging everyone to follow instructions and take care with the use of fireworks around people, property, pets and vehicles this Guy Fawkes.

“Guy Fawkes is a time of wonder and excitement for young and old but it can also spark disaster for people and property if something goes wrong,” says Mary-Jane Daly, State executive general manager.

“We are urging New Zealanders in general to be responsible, use common sense and follow all safety warnings to ensure happy Guy Fawkes Day.”

Mary- Jane Daly said that over the past three years, with heightened restrictions around the selling of fireworks, claims for property damage or loss directly related to their use have dropped significantly.

In 2008 State handled 14 firework-related claims – last year it had only two incidents, resulting in three claim

“Damage can be substantial, however. In several instances, homes have been severely damaged, and home contents completely destroyed.”

The insurer has already had its first claim for this year.

Mary-Jane Daly suggested people consider attending public events rather than put on their own fireworks displays. But for those intent on lighting up their own night sky, State offers this advice:

Safety tips for fireworks enthusiasts:

  • Only use fireworks outdoors.
  • Check the direction of the wind and do not use or aim fireworks near property or dry scrub.
  • Always have water handy (a hose or bucket).
  • Read the instructions on fireworks and use only as directed. Don’t alter or combine fireworks.
  • Never attempt to relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes then soak in a bucket of water.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Nominate a sober ‘firework lighter’.
  • Above all use common sense and always closely supervise children and pets around fireworks.