Gauteng braces for Diwali and Guy Fawkes celebrations

2010-11-05 13:03

Emergency services in Gauteng were gearing up for a booming night of Diwali and Guy Fawkes celebrations, which both fall on the same day this year.

“We have a plan in place for fireworks.

We’re hoping the downfall in firework-related injuries in the past few years continues for 2010,” said Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesperson Percy Morokane.

Morokane said there was capacity for increased manpower should there be more emergencies than usual tonight.

By-law enforcement of fireworks was already in place in Tshwane, with the kickoff of the city’s festive season operational plan.

Various businesses had been fined for selling fireworks without following municipal by-laws.

In order to sell fireworks, a business needs to apply for a licence from the police explosives unit.

Only after a fire safety inspector had concluded the premises met fire safety legislation and requirements, would a licence be issued.

Residents wanting to use fireworks for private and professional reasons would need to contact the chief fire officer for permission.

Failing to do this could result in a spot fine.

The Tshwane community safety department warned the public to take heed of all firework legislation.

Children of Fire, a burns charity, cautioned people about using fireworks.

“Misuse of fireworks at different cultural celebrations leads to devastating injury,” it said.

“Most at risk are boys aged 10 to 14 who think it is fun not to follow the rules.”

The charity said festivities like this led to a surge in hand, face and eye injuries, often severe and permanent.

It recommended that people rather enjoy fireworks at professionally managed events.

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