Fireworks go on sale with a warning, and political scrutiny

There's strict rules on the use of fireworks used by members of the public and it's only legal to set them off from 18:00 on 31st December until 02:00 on 1st January.

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Fireworks on sale in a Helsinki supermarket, December 2018 / Credit: News Now Finland

Friday fireworks go on sale on Friday, just in time for New Year’s Eve celebrations, but they come with stern safety warnings.

Fire departments are reminding everyone of the rules and best practice to use the pyrotechnics.

It’s only legal to set off fireworks between 18:00 on 31st December and 02:00 on 1st January.

Anyone buying or using almost all types of fireworks – except sparklers, for example – has to be aged 18 or older, with the adults who buy them responsible for ensuring their safe use.

Western Uusimaa Rescue Department says that “many domestic pets are afraid of the loud noise of fireworks” and warns local residents not to cause “unnecessary harm” to other people or animals through the use of fireworks.

“We really hope that we won’t hear the first bang on New Year’s Eve before 18:00” the department writes on Facebook.

Poll and politics look at fireworks 

The start of fireworks sales comes as a new survey in Rural Future newspaper finds that 47% of people are against the sale of fireworks.

There’s an age split in the poll, with older people more likely to be in favour of the ban and young people against it. There’s a gender split in the survey as well with 57% of women and 38% of men would ban fireworks sales to members of the public.

Parliament is also looking at a citizen’s initiative to ban fireworks which collected more than 65,000 signatures in 2019.

However only the Movement Now – Liike Nyt – party, whose sole MP is Hjallis Harkimo, is currently in favour of restricting fireworks sales to professionals only.

The National Coalition Party, Centre Party and Finns are specifically against such a ban; while the Social Democrats, Greens, Christian Democrats and Swedish People’s Party haven’t formulated an official position yet.

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