Good common sense is, of course, the most important tool for a safe, spectacular 2016 firework display.
But many people do not take safety precautions seriously enough in the midst of the New Year revelry, according to Skien Station Manager Ove Stokkeland of the Norwegian fire service.
“It could actually make a noticeable difference to accident statistics [if only women let off fireworks] – but the most important thing is not to use fireworks recklessly,” Stokkeland told NRK.
New Year fireworks have become a major part of Norwegian festive tradition over the years, with the transition from the old year accompanied by blitzes of colour and the uninterrupted din of cracking and exploding in towns and cities across the country.
Stokkeland said that the use of fireworks at New Year without due care and attention was not a new trend, but one that could be reversed by following a few simple guidelines.
“Use common sense. Make sure you have a good underlay, so that the fireworks are let off steadily and securely, and use protective clothes and safety goggles. The most common injuries are to the hands and eyes, so protecting these is the most important thing you can do,” said Stokkeland.
The skyrocket, a large firework which uses a long wooden stick to aid propulsion, has been banned for public use in Norway since 2008. This has reduced the numbers of New Year fires, says Stokkeland.
“They fly far, often go in the wrong direction and cause fires. We have noticed a fall in firework-related fires since they disappeared,” he said.
Fines for breaking laws relating to firework use can be as high as 6000 kroner (USD 682).