Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang – safely and legally
Berlin, 13/12/2018. On New Year’s Eve, millions of fireworks are expected to be ignited again to ring in the new year. However, time and time again this results in injuries, as consumers handle them improperly or set off illegal bangers. At their press conference, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) informed the public about the safe handling of rockets, batteries and the likes, and demonstrated how dangerous illegal firecrackers can be using a hand dummy.
BAM stresses that only tested fireworks should be purchased and used. Tested fireworks are marked with a registration number and the CE marking along with the notified body’s identification number. Notified bodies are neutral, independent organisations appointed by the respective member states to the EU Commission. BAM is the notified body in Germany for testing fireworks according to the EU’s Directive on Pyrotechnic Articles [2013/29/EU]. BAM’s identification number is 0589.
“In comparison with tested firecrackers which have a limited amount of black powder, illegal fireworks often contain a flash composition which has a much stronger reaction,” says BAM pyrotechnics expert Dr. Christian Lohrer. “If such a pyrotechnic article were to explode in a hand, this would result in serious injuries or the loss of fingers.”
However, certified firecrackers are also often used incorrectly. “Read the user manual before igniting,” explains Heidrun Fink, head of testing for BAM’s Explosives division. “Most importantly, firecrackers should not be thrown, but instead placed individually on the ground and then ignited. A safety distance of at least eight metres should be observed.” This safety distance also applies to uninvolved third-party spectators attending the fireworks. Firecrackers should never be opened under any circumstance. The chemical substances are very sensitive to friction, impact, electrostatics and heat. Handling can lead to dangerous reactions and explosions.
In addition to EU rules, there are country-specific regulations for the use and distribution of fireworks. For example, F2 category fireworks, which also include New Year’s Eve rockets, firework batteries, bangers and fountains, may only be purchased and used in Germany by those aged 18 and older. In addition, category F2 rockets with more than 20g of explosive content may only be purchased and ignited by people with a special permit or certificate.
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More information regarding fireworks and their safe use is available on our website.