Hawaii residents have many beloved holiday traditions. We visit Honolulu Hale before Christmas and flock by the thousands to Ala Moana Beach Park to watch the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. And in addition to pounding mochi and eating ozoni (traditional Japanese soup) every New Year’s, each year kamaaina blanket the city sky with smoke, setting off fireworks by the trunk-load.
To ring in 2011 and the last year before a consumer fireworks ban took effect on January 2, Oahu residents lit up the night’s sky – first responders were called to 36 fires and at least five injuries which were believed to have been fireworks-related. The most serious injury took place when an aerial firework exploded in a man’s hand, leaving him in critical condition.
Earlier this year, the new island-wide fireworks ordinance put heavy restrictions on aerials and pyrotechnics – including fountains, sparklers, sprinklers and other consumer fireworks. The 2012 New Year will be the first New Year celebration where the law will be in effect, which aims at cutting the number of fireworks-related injuries, reducing asthma attacks as well as other air quality-related health issues and decreasing the litter resulting from fireworks debris.
This year, fireworks permits are available for purchase for $25 through the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) and at Satellite City Halls, allowing residents ages 18 years and older to set off up to 5,000 firecrackers. Even with the permit however, fireworks can only be set off on designated holidays including New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, Fourth of July and other cultural events approved by the HFD on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions or concerns about Oahu’s new fireworks law, contact the Honolulu Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau at (808) 723-7162.
This year, before gathering round the driveway with family and friends, remember some of the safety tips offered by the Honolulu Fire Department regarding the use of fireworks:
We hope that you and your family have a fun, festive and above all, safe holiday season. On behalf Leavitt Yamane & Soldner and our families, we wish you and yours Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year).