Victorians are being urged to enjoy the free and legal fireworks on offer at displays across the state this New Year’s Eve, and not to risk death or injury by illegally obtaining and setting off their own.
Severe injuries including burns to themselves and others, and fires, are among the consequences potentially faced by those who handle illegal fireworks.
Last year, three men were injured in separate New Year’s Eve fireworks incidents across the state.
Two years ago, a 46-year-old man died in an incident involving fireworks in East Gippsland.
It is illegal for anyone other than licensed pyrotechnicians to be in possession of, or use, fireworks in Victoria.
WorkSafe, in support of Victoria Police, seized approximately 4000kg of illegal fireworks in 2018.
WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Michael Coffey said that with licensed pyrotechnical displays planned around the state, there was no need for anyone to risk their lives or break the law by handling fireworks themselves.
“Fireworks can and do cause serious injuries and deaths in untrained hands, which is why they are banned for use by the general public,” Mr Coffey said.
“New Year's Eve is a time of joy to celebrate with family and friends, not a night to spend in hospital or mourning a loved one.”
Over the last two summers, MFB firefighters have responded to 32 firework-related emergency incidents.
Almost a third of the illegal firework related incidents MFB responded to last year were caused by children playing with fireworks.
“A few seconds of entertainment to be had from illegal fireworks is just not worth the risk,” MFB Chief Officer/CEO Dan Stephens said.
“Don’t take the risk with illegal fireworks. Instead, enjoy the many free and legal displays being held across the city and Victoria.”
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said Victoria was already facing a tough fire season and didn’t need people breaking the law to make it any tougher.
“Across Victoria we’ve received lower than average rainfalls and despite some great rain these past few weeks that have reduced of the fire risk, we cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.
“We all want to have a good time over New Year’s but do it without illegal fireworks because otherwise you’re putting yourself, your loved ones and your community under threat.”
Information about the sale or use of illegal fireworks can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Anyone in possession of illegal fireworks should contact WorkSafe’s Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 so they can be collected.
WorkSafe media: 0435 409 975
MFB media: 03 9665 4699
Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.