By Managing Editor Molly Barrieau

Alyssa Morton (left) lighting off reworks during a show. Photo by Kelly Morton Photography.
Lys Morton (left) lighting off fireworks during a show. Photo by Kelly Morton Photography.

Halloween slowly approaches, and brightly painted trailers advertising the best selection of fireworks pop up off the highway, ready to sell dangerous concoctions of chemicals to brighten your spooky night. Before you go out and grab roman candles and cherry bombs, The Nav wants to share some safety tips gathered from our licensed fireworks technician and friend Lys Morton.

Morton works at the “bomb site” with a fireworks operator, shooting off multiple shows a year. His dad is a licensed operator, and works with Morton to put on shows in Calgary.

“The reason we constantly refer to it as a bomb site, is because that’s what fireworks are,” Morton said. “They have the same components as any other explosive weapon, the only difference is that they look pretty.”

Many think that because fireworks are handheld and give off much less noise than those we see on Canada Day, they can use any means to light them; however, according to Morton, the recreational ones purchased off the side of the road have the same mix of chemicals as the larger industry fireworks.

Here are our tips for a safe Halloween:

•  Before you choose your fireworks, it’s important to choose the area you will be enjoying the sights away from trees and outside the city. Check the City Bylaws on fireworks (hint: it’s all prohibited within the city boundaries).

•   Remember that loud noises will scare dogs and children, so finding somewhere away from residential neighbourhoods can prevent complaints.

•  When you’ve purchased your fireworks, check them over carefully, looking for “even the slightest manufacturers defect, where the tube is partially blocked, because the explosion will come out the sides,” Morton said.

•   Have buckets of sand around in case of fire, not water. “Recreational companies are constantly coming up with new chemical concoctions and you never know how these will react to water.”

•  “Always be aware of where your body is. When you’re lighting, be low, lean away from the firework, and use a long reach lighter.” Be aware of weather conditions like wind and rain as well.

•   Dig a hole for your firework and point it away from you; make sure it doesn’t fall and shoot sideways.

Lastly, enjoy yourself this Halloween, and check out Natural Resources Canada website for consumer fireworks safety at nrcan.gc.ca/explosives/fireworks/9905.


Molly is a creative writing major with a modern languages minor, has a love for editing, publishing and linguistics. She is in her fifth and final year at VIU. She hopes to land a job in Montreal and open a poutine truck with her partner when she retires.

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