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New Year's Eve without drama: Handling fireworks correctly

The last day of the year generally finishes off not only with bottle corks popping, but also with colourful fireworks lighting up the sky. To ensure that nothing spoils the fun, it's worthwhile to keep a few things in mind when handling fireworks.

On New Year's Eve, rockets and volcanoes not only cause children's eyes to gleam, they are also a source of excitement in young and old alike. Unfortunately, they can also cause accidents, many of which could easily be prevented through correct handling. According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, around 250 people are injured by fireworks in Switzerland every year, and buildings are occasionally damaged as well.

Advice when buying fireworks
A few simple precautions are all it takes to reduce the risk of injury, and they start already at the time of purchase: Ask the sales person to show you how to handle the items correctly, observe the warnings and instructions, and note the recommended ages at which children can safely handle them. Then store them in a cool and dry place, well out of reach of any children and pets.

Setting them off
Once you've chosen the location for setting off the fireworks, be sure to keep them in a place that's protected against any sparks. It's best to keep them in a separate space or to cover them. Choose a stable surface for the item you're about to ignite, and make sure that other people, animals and buildings are at a safe distance. Don't stick rockets into the ground to set them off. For small ones, you can use a secured bottle; for larger ones, you will need a launch rod or pipe.

Fingers off any duds!
Burned out fireworks first need to cool down and then be dowsed with water before disposal. It is also very important to handle any duds correctly: Approach them only after ten minutes and don't try to light them a second time. Pour water over them and return them to the store for disposal.

Be considerate
While rockets can be spectacular, they are also very loud. Be aware that not all your neighbours may find them equally thrilling. Respect families with small children, as well as elderly people and animals. Consider asking in advance if the noise will bother anyone, and be willing to compromise, for example by setting off fireworks only during a certain period or choosing less noisy items, such as volcanoes.