ANDRE Abraham, managing director of FireOne Fireworks called on people to be considerate of pets and the elderly when using fireworks in the days leading up to New Year’s Day.
He made the call as hundreds of people shopped for fireworks at the company’s annual Boxing Day sale on Sunday.
“We all have to be our brother’s keeper and be considerate and look out for each other especially in these last two years in the pandemic,” Abraham said.
He advised that customers not use the products indiscriminately and only between 6 pm and midnight on Old Year’s Night.
“Once you look up at the stroke of midnight and see everyone unite in one vision of positivity, we ask customers; please stop using the product after midnight – 12.30 for the latest.”
Customers at the sale said that it is possible for fireworks enthusiasts and people who are usually disturbed by fireworks – pet owners and the elderly – to coexist if all are considerate.
Sherwin Bowman, an Arima resident, said if people adhere to the time that is suggested all parties could still celebrate.
“In our village we work together and make sure the pets are put away, so that they would not be seriously affected,” Bowman said.
He said people look forward to the fireworks displays in his area as a way to come together one last time each year.
“You get to celebrate and free up in a way that you couldn’t during the year, especially during covid19,” he added. “Children who could not go out during the year also look forward to it.”
Patrick Santokee of Sangre Grande said he had been participating in the sale for more than 20 years.
“I always come with my family. We have been coming since they were located in San Juan. Every year it is a tradition for our neighbourhood that we set the fireworks up for Old Year’s night and set them off, and the neighbours will come around and look up at the fireworks and pyrotechnics.
“The neighbours always look forward to it and my kids look forward to it.”
He also said people in his village limit their use to just after midnight on New Year’s Day.
Abraham said sales were “outstanding,” as hundreds of people patronised the store from the moment it opened at 9 am.
He said the turnout was proof that people had accepted covid19 as part of their lives but still want to have some form of celebration.
“People want to look up and feel happy and spend time with their family and loved ones, and they want a product that unites and brings communities together. Fireworks is just that type of product where a son, daughter, loved ones and neighbours could come together and celebrate all the blessings and be grateful for all that they have.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Marlon Smith said the fire service continues to be vigilant in advising people on the use of fireworks. He said during the holiday season fire officers consistently advise that fireworks users be mindful of the elderly and pets.
“We tell people it is a cause for celebration and it is another milestone being able to witness another year, but people must let good sense prevail. In many cases when people do not adhere to the advice, police have to be called .”
Smith warned that people should not detonate fireworks close to others, or point them at other people. He also advised not to set off fireworks in enclosed spaces or near flammable containers.
“If something goes wrong it could lead to damage – sometimes permanent, and sometimes it could lead to someone’s death.”
When asked about Abraham’s advice, he said the advice was sound and should be adhered to.
“Setting a specific time is also good because people in the area would have an idea when to expect it. Remember that some elderly people suffer with heart issues and we would not want someone to lose their lives during the celebrations.”