COLOGNE, 29-Dec-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — On no other day in the year are the fire service and emergency services in demand as much as they are on New Year’s Eve. Careless use of fireworks is frequently the cause of fires and accidents – often in combination with alcohol. However, such hazards can be easily avoided if fireworks are used in the proper manner. “When handling fireworks, you must have a clear head and read the usage instructions carefully,” says Rainer Weiskirchen, a specialist in product safety at TÜV Rheinland.
Only tested fireworks are allowed
In the EU, only firework products that have been tested by independent testing institutes such as TÜV Rheinland are allowed. Tested products can be recognized by the CE marking in combination with the identification number of the inspection center and a registration number, which also states the firework category. “Fireworks categorized as F1 can be used by people aged 12 and over, or F2 by 18 and over respectively. F3- and F4-category products can be purchased and ignited by pyrotechnic professionals only, including on New Year’s Eve,” says Weiskirchen. Children under 12 are banned from handling any category of firework at all.
TÜV Rheinland recommends that consumers purchase fireworks only from trusted sources such as supermarkets, hardware stores and department stores.
Never launch rockets from your hands
Anyone who wants to prevent burns should read the manufacturer’s usage instructions very carefully. Rockets must be launched outdoors only and never directly from your hands. To avoid the risk of burns and other injuries, a sufficient safety distance should always be maintained between the firework once it has been lit and surrounding people, cars and trees. Consumers are also advised to remove all flammable objects from balconies and terraces and to keep windows and doors closed while fireworks are being set off. This is to prevent firecrackers and rockets from flying into houses and apartments. “Burns and other injuries are easily avoidable if you follow the safety instructions and don’t behave carelessly,” explains TÜV Rheinland expert Weiskirchen. “One thing you absolutely must not do is relight unexploded fireworks.”
Take care with alcohol
Fireworks cannot be set off anywhere you like. Municipalities and towns will inform residents on their websites of any local prohibitions. Accidents involving fireworks often occur in combination with alcohol, which can potentially make anyone – not just young people – careless. “You don’t have to avoid alcohol completely, but, as with driving a car, it’s best to let others drive – or, in this case, light the fuse – if you’ve had something to drink.” Responsible behavior means preventing drunk people in your vicinity from being able to light fireworks. It is the job, above all, of responsible and vigilant adults to prevent burns and other injuries.
SOURCE: TÜV RHEINLAND
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