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Fireworks are banned in Vancouver, but will it make a difference?

Last Updated Nov 6, 2019 at 11:17 am PDT

(NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Vancouver is banning fireworks, but people can still buy them in other cities

Surrey's fire department saw a dramatic reduction in fireworks-related calls after they were banned in 2005

Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas says there needs to be a regional approach to a fireworks ban

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver is saying goodbye to consumer fireworks following a ban by city council, but without other municipalities getting on board, will it make a difference?

Surrey banned fireworks in 2005 and since then, calls on Halloween night have dropped, according to Fire Chief Larry Thomas.

This past Oct. 31, Surrey firefighters responded to seven fireworks-related calls, compared to the 20 Vancouver firefighters responded to, which caused around $360,000 in damage.

RELATED: Vancouver bans the future sale of fireworks

Thomas says his department noticed a difference immediately after consumer fireworks were banned, with numbers dipping even after the first year.

“Our call volumes dropped significantly,” he says. “After a couple years, we didn’t call back crews anymore, we didn’t have to staff-up.

“It makes a dramatic difference for the fire services in terms of resources and the number of calls that we go to when that firework ban was put in place by our city.”

Thomas admits people in Surrey can still get their hands on fireworks in other cities, which is why he says more municipalities in the Lower Mainland should ban them.

“People do travel and go pick up fireworks and bring them back. We still have that bit of a problem, but it’s not as big as it was because they’re not readily-available in our community,” he says.

“I really think that this needs a regional approach. If all municipalities in region took the similar approach of not allowing consumer fireworks, you would see the problems related to firework use go way down everywhere.”

RELATED: Vancouver Fire backs fireworks ban after $360,000 in damage Halloween night

He says people might still find other ways to bring them in, but reducing the local supply would make a dramatic difference.

Vancouver’s fireworks ban is set to go into effect in 2021.