Know your fire cracker by-laws

2015-01-02 08:56

Every year, comes midnight on Old Year’s Eve, the sounds of fireworks coming from Eersterust and Mamelodi, resemble that of the start of World War 3.

And every year, there are warnings of heavy fines that will be imposed on violators of the city’s by-laws.

This year, the city fathers have promised that the pepper traitors will be brought to a book in the library, and will be fined, or arrested (or worse), with the full force of the might of the long arm of the law.

How well do you the by-laws regulating fireworks? Read on.

In terms of the city’s by-laws:

“… no person should use fireworks within 500m of any explosives factory, petrol station, inside a long-drop, outside a short-drop, at any public place, near any private building, at any school, church, or within 5 kilometers of any wild animal or pet or bird, or old age home, or hospital, or mortuary.

Fireworks should be handled by adults only. Adults, who set off crackers, must be suitably qualified and be in possession of an officially authorized Blasters License Certificate (BLC) from the Department of Mines, Strikes, and Riots.

Children should watch the display from a safe distance of 10 kilometers.

No one under the age of 61 is allowed to handle or use fireworks, except if they are supervised by an adult. Retailers may not sell fireworks to a child under the age of 2 years old.

To stage a fireworks display, permission must first be sought in writing (in triplicate) from the Fireworks Working Committee (FWC) or from the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) in that particular region. The application must reach the (FWC), or the (CFO), three hundred and sixty-five (365) days in advance to allow members of the public to launch any objections.

Permission must also be sought to set off crackers in private yards. In the application, the person must outline the plan of the house, the suburb, the city, the province, and in some cases – where rockets are to be set off – a detailed map of the whole of the country must be included. A site inspection by the Emergency Management Services (EMS) would also be conducted. (Except in the case of Nkandla – which is a National Key Point – where no normal person is allowed to go.)

Those planning their own fireworks shows are urged to keep in mind the dangers inherent in their use, and to remember safety tips:

Pick a site that is appropriate for lighting the crackers. Preferably where there is a good chance of triggering runaway fires. Check the wind direction before starting the display. Ensure that informal settlements are downwind.

Throw crackers as close as possible to the neighbour’s dogs for maximum effect.

Set up the display during daylight hours to protect those with sensitive eyes from the bright flashes of the explosions.

Leave the remains of unexploded fireworks for the children to discover and play with the next day.

When throwing a lighted cracker at someone’s face, always stand well back. You don’t want to be injured in the ensuing explosion.

Never return a cracker, once it has been lit, to the pocket of your shirt or pants. The explosion could ruin your clothes. (Or in the case of males, their manhood.)”

There you are, I hope this article has been useful.

Just remember:

This year, people violating the by-laws regulating fireworks, will be slapped with a hefty R150 000 fine – don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Happy Blasting!

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