Thursday 11 October 2007

Off with a bang

Whenever one of those polls come along that asks what you would like enshrined in law (the Today programme now even lines up someone who has won a slot the Private Members Bill ballot to put the winner forward) there are three subjects that I have to choose between. One, reversing the burden of responsibility on the public to opt-out of organ donation rather than having to opt-in came up recently. The second is public funding of the RNLI and rest assured that will come up in this blog eventually. The last is fireworks, in the last ten years the injury rate has varied, but not by much. It has stayed between just over 900 to almost 1250 people receiving medical attention each year in a four week period, mid October to mid November and of these people about 100 have been hurt badly enough to require an overnight stay in hospital or a coffin.

I was going to put forward the thesis that England, Wales and Scotland should follow Northern Ireland's model of formal licensing of all firework displays whether in a public park or a domestic back garden. I was sure that this, combined with it being a requirement that someone produce said permit when buying fireworks, would have reduced the body count. I was a little shocked to find out that with almost 70 reported fireworks injuries for 2006 NI has about a two and a half times bigger problem than the rest of the United Kingdom (when corrected for relative population size). I'm quite glad I did some research before I started spouting off on the internet about it. So that leaves me having to harden my position, on this subject, so I would like now that the rules are:

  1. No fireworks should be sold to anyone who hasn't done a formal training course in handling them.
  2. There should also be mandatory record keeping of all firework sales.
  3. Research in to forensic science methods of tracing fireworks back to the suppliers when they cause injury should be undertaken.

Perhaps this will stop kids in the street throwing lit fireworks at people and drunk blokes blowing up their mates.

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