Chinese New Year: Chinese take firework safety step of banning city fireworks

China’s bold firework safety step of banning fireworks in cities, even at Chinese New Year, shows what a problem they can be. Fire and Safety Centre highlights the reasons for the ban, and the dangers from a similar product – Chinese lanterns – at all times of the year, and offers suggestions to ward off danger.

This is how dangerous fireworks can be:

The people who invented them have banned them as a part of their most important celebration of the year. That’s right, the Chinese have banned the use of fireworks in its major cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, because of the danger from fire and the disturbance they make through their noise, especially at Chinese New Year.

That’s when, on the stroke of midnight as the New Year begins, the air is split with the deafening roar of tens of thousands of firecrackers and fireworks, some of the displays even sponsored by the Government.

Chinese New Year facts

The traditions of Chinese New Year – which this year starts on February 19th, and will be the Year of the Goat – are many, and are based on superstition, even in the 21st century. As the China Highlights website explains, what happens to you on the first day of the year sets the tone for the year ahead. So it would be terrible to start off the year with a sky lanterns fire hazard or a breach of firework safety.

Chinese LanternsIs it your lucky year?

Start Chinese New Year correctly, and this will be an auspicious year for you, say the Chinese, especially if you were born in these years, all of which were years of the goat.

• 1919
• 1931
• 1943
• 1955
• 1967
• 1979
• 1991
• 2003

National Farmers Union promotes ban on Chinese lanterns

In the UK the dangers of fireworks are widely known, with the firework safety message re-inforced especially vigorously around Bonfire Night. However, there’s a growing tradition that divides the country – the use of Chinese lanterns.

These are the paper lanterns filled with hot air from their own portable fire, and released into the air with neither control nor any idea of their destination. The dangers of Chinese lanterns are significant and the results can be devastating; harming wildlife and farm animals and starting fires.

In its promotional campaign the National Farmers Union has called for an outright ban on Chinese lanterns because of the devastation that can result from their use.

How to guard against firework and Chinese lantern fires

You can control the dangers of fireworks and Chinese lanterns yourself by not using them, but you’re still vulnerable from what other people do. To be certain you’re in control when fireworks are being used, like bonfire night or our own New Year’s Eve, we’d say set up a simple fire watch system around your property, and have a fire bucket, fire blanket or fire extinguisher to hand. That way you’ll be in control of the consequences of a stray firework or Chinese lantern long before the fire service can get to you.

And finally, candles might be romantic, but they’re far from safe. A friend’s wedding was the last at a particular venue to use candles as part of the table decorations. The reason? A normally-sensible guest made a cradle suspended beneath sufficient helium-filled balloons to lift a lit tea light, and launched one gently towards the ceiling, where it triggered the smoke alarms.

We say: Remove the danger from fire by taking away the candles, but have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket handy too. That way, if anything should happen to go wrong, you’ll be making your own luck no matter if it’s Chinese New Year or not!

For more information on how to have a safe New Year celebration, or for advice on which fire extinguisher to buy, simply contact us and we’ll be glad to help!