Careless use of fireworks can lead to wasted SAR resources

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I am writing in response to a recent article which appeared in The Telegram June 27 regarding fireworks and dogs.

First, as a dog owner myself, I wish to echo the concerns brought forward by others. For times when I can predict the use of fireworks, such as Canada Day and New Year’s Eve, it’s easy enough for me to take the necessary precautions to reduce the stress on my dog. However, with fireworks being available to anyone, and the freedom to use them whenever and wherever, being able to prepare becomes much more difficult, if not impossible. This could very easily lead to incidents where my dog is left alone and terrified, or if outside, might run away.

Second, in my line of work, I know too well the issues associated with putting fireworks in the hands of Joe Blow to use whenever it pleases him. I can’t tell you how many times there are reports of flare sightings, and valuable search and rescue resources tasked, only to discover that it was a false alarm, as the “flare” in question turns out to be a firework.

I know from experience that the average person, when looking out across the bay from their kitchen window, cannot tell the difference between a red distress flare and a harmless red firework, or whether it is even over land or over water. Harmless, of course, until somebody dies because SAR resources are busy investigating a wild goose chase that never should be allowed to occur. Fortunately, to the best of my knowledge, this hasn’t happened — yet.

Honestly, the pet issue aside, I cannot understand why anyone is allowed to purchase fireworks to use at their leisure, knowing the potential implications on safety. I would strongly support a complete ban on the sale of fireworks for use by average citizens, but at the very least, their use should be limited to specific times.

And to all those opposed, I’m fairly certain a life is more valuable than the “oohs” and “aahs” your precious fireworks solicit.

David Guinchard

Conception Bay South

Organizations: Joe Blow

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  • David Guinchard
    July 09, 2013 - 11:51

    Here are the Facts: There are many flare sightings reported in Newfoundland every year. Fortunately, most of these turn out to be false alarms. And, the culprit in most cases is fireworks. And it happens way more often than you might think. Far beyond a rare occurance, to the point where it is almost a common incident. If you do your homework, you'd learn that every possible "flare" sighting is taken very seriously, and investigated to a point where it is certain that a distress situation no longer exists. This naturally draws on valuable Search and Rescue resources, and can very easily create a situation where these resources are not available when a "real" incident takes place. So then, are fireworks really worth it? What is the counter argument to support uncontrolled fireworks?

  • J
    July 08, 2013 - 16:36

    Just WOW! I don't even know where to start with this letter. Is it real? By the logic of the writer then all dogs should be banned because in the hands of careless owners they could seriously hurt or kill someone, and, dogs are not really required (except for service dogs) so there should be no problems then banning all dogs right Mr. Guinchard?

    • David Guinchard
      July 10, 2013 - 14:55

      Well, dogs are already restricted to ensure public safety. Most communities and parks require owners to keep their dogs on a leash at all times under penalty of fines or even the seizure of the offending animal. In a nut shell, dogs are not permitted to roam freely. Wasn't sure if you realized that or not, as your comment implies that there are currently no rules to dog ownership, when obviously there are. So J, if you asking would I be ok with restrictions limiting firework use in the interest of public safety, similar to the restrictions already controlling dogs to ensure public safety, then I would have to say yes, absolutely.

  • Ken Collis
    July 08, 2013 - 13:47

    And I guess if a car backfires the driver should be arrested too??? You seem to be trying to justify your feelings for your pet with a poor arguement that lives are at risk. This sounds as foolish as my first line.

    • too funny
      July 09, 2013 - 07:41

      "And I guess if a car backfires the driver should be arrested too?" That's funny, because you're trying to deceive people by comparing an accidental backfire with intentional fireworks or flares. Not to mention how extremely rare it is for modern cars to "backfire".