Diwali, Halloween Fireworks Pose Dangers for Property and Wildlife

Fireworks are a common sight in Surrey during the Halloween and Diwali season, but they pose a danger to property and wildlife.

The Surrey fire services recommends hiring a professional with a federal fireworks license. Once you have hired a professional and have a plan for your display you may contact the Surrey Fire Services. Surrey Fire Services will review the property you wish to have your display on. They will look for potential fallout areas and other surrounding hazards, but if all is well you will be issued a permit.

Its safety practices such as these that Jason Cairney, Assistant Chief with Surrey Fire Services, says helped bring fireworks incidents down in Surrey.

“There are fireworks around and they can be enjoyable, we just hope people will do it in a safe manor so they can be enjoyed and everybody can be safe,” says Cairney.

Fireworks incidents in Surrey have gone down by 82.5 per cent since 2004, with only seven recorded incidents so far this year.

When planning a fireworks display be sure your communication is clear and that there are clear evacuation routes with fire extinguishers on the ready.

Private property damage and fire risks aren’t the only concern with fireworks displays. Victoria Shroff, a Vancouver based animal lawyer, says fireworks have had a negative impact on local wildlife and household pets.

Shroff says, “any animal is not going to be comfortable with loud shooting sounds as well as the visual impact that fireworks can have on an animals central nervous system, it’s an overload.”

Luckily it’s easy to help household pets, giving them extra bedding, closing the curtains, and playing soothing music are good starting points. But often these aren’t enough to make the household pet feel safe. Shroff says that prescriptions for anxiety in pets often go up around this time of year.

For wild animals the answer isn’t so clear. While the Surrey Fire Services can check for fire hazards its not their place to find the environmental impact. But the effect of these fireworks is clear, these displays put local wildlife into a panic. Often wildlife will just run away, running into ravines and drowning, separating young animals from mothers, or running into trees.

Alternatives to fireworks are already being used in places such as Banff, who used quiet fireworks this past Canada day do address the concerns of animal safety. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has given a Compassionate Town award for this switch.

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Joe Ayres
Born in White Rock and raised in Surrey, Joe Ayres is a lighthearted journalist who just wants to tell a good story. A table top RPG enthusiast and general fan geek culture fan, an English tutor and writing coach, Joe is currently studying journalism at Langara College.