The Firework-Fun Fallacy


From P&C Express 05/11/09:

A health chief has warned that fireworks can have "devastating consequences" if they are not used safely.

Ian Walton, accident and emergency operations director at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS), said its ambulance crews will treat a number of patients with burns to more serious, life-threatening injuries on bonfire night.

He said: "Fireworks used properly are safe are accidents are avoidable. However, they can cause devastating injuries if safety precautions are not followed.

"We recommend people attend one of the professionally-organised public displays. However, if you are planning to host your own event, we ask you exercise caution and make safety a priority to ensure everyone has a good time without getting hurt.

While it’s true that, used properly, fireworks can be safe, a significant section of the general public illustrate annually that they’re simply not capable of following safety directions and employing a little commonsense. It doesn’t seem to matter how many safety warnings go out each year, or how well-labelled the fireworks are themselves, injuries often ensue during amateur November 5th festivities.

For what it’s worth, I’m rather doubtful about the sense in selling fireworks to the general public at all – though I’m aware there are certain counter-arguments which can be wheeled-out in response. As well as the accidents resulting in terrible injuries, fireworks also have a habit of falling into the wrong hands – typically kids. For me, the significance of both of these factors outweigh any benefits that could be said to flow from selling fireworks to ordinary members of the public.

Is hosting your own private firework display really worth the danger and hassle? With society being so trigger-happy from a litigation standpoint, can the average family risk inviting others round for a typical garden display? After all, there’s little legal redress for victims injured as a result of their own negligent conduct and they may unwittingly cause actionable injuries to others.


  1. When I was a kid you needed a license to buy fireworks which was a good idea, less people bought them so most people either didn't bother doing anything or just went to a public display. That said probably easier to keep under control when we don't celebrate guy fawkes night really and just have fireworks on halloween.

  2. Well said Michael. Fireworks are a pain in the neck. I live near a hotel that has taken to treating its guests to regular fireworks displays.

    Not much fun for my horse, who is terrified of them and not much fun for the village neighbourhood in general, who get woken up at midnight by the noise made by the fireworks.

    p.s. word verification is 'pricke' well, I'm too shocked to comment!

  3. I really don't see the point in having your own display in your back yard. Not only is it much more dangerous, put you end up paying £20 for a single rocket.
    £20 for a single bang.

    Instead, I'm going to my local council organised display tonight - the best in the North of England (according to surveys), and free (but I'm working anyway).

    Spectacular effect, bugger all cost. Where's the logic in doing otherwise?


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