DUBAI // Police are taking their yearly Ramadan education campaign on the dangers of illegal fireworks to the streets.
Instead of handing out pamphlets and holding lectures, officers have decided to personally take their message to residents.
“We wanted to go in another direction this holy month, so we assigned a campaign bus that would go to different residential areas and target people of all ages and nationalities,” said Brig Abdullah Al Ghaithi, director of protective security and emergency at Dubai Police.
“There has been more communication with the public this year via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and our hashtag #stay_safedxb.”
There are six licensed fireworks companies in Dubai and it is illegal to buy or sell fireworks without a licence. But sometimes fireworks are used to celebrate the holy month.
Brig Al Ghaithi said that in the first week of Ramadan, Dubai Police inspected 60 warehouses in Jebel Ali but did not find any illegal stock. Officers did, however, seize 5 kilograms of fireworks from a man who was selling them on Instagram.
He said they were also monitoring a house in Rashidiya, where police suspected fireworks were being sold after he and other plain-clothes officers found about 20 youths, aged 7 to 19, bursting them.
“We were in civilian clothing and we didn’t want to scare them, but we confiscated the fireworks and tried to educate them on the dangers of fireworks by displaying a film on the bus, and then gave them presents,” Brig Al Ghaithi said.
The children revealed that they bought the fireworks from someone in the area.
“It’s so concerning because these children had in their pocket fireworks that don’t need a flame to ignite, but they spark upon friction with a hard surface,” said Brig Al Ghaithi.
Arthur Calamday, a technical supervisor at El Pyro Fireworks, said his company had a strict policy not to sell fireworks to general public.
“We don’t sell fireworks or materials to people but we put on shows for our clients,” Mr Calamday said, adding that all shows were held by trained technicians.
“Once the client accepts our offer we take permission from the police to transport the fireworks material from the well-guarded warehouses to the venues, and we are escorted by police the whole time.”
He said a fireworks show between one to three minutes can cost anywhere from Dh30,000 to Dh500,000 and, while a small show requires two or three technicians, a bigger show needs between 20 and 30 technicians.
Mr Calamday said their staff had suffered no injuries since the company opened in 2000.
No fireworks-related injuries have been reported in Dubai this year but police are working with health authorities to get accurate statistics.
“People who go to hospital to be treated for injuries resulting from illegal fireworks won’t say it’s fireworks but, through coordination with the health department, we will know and try to educate the person and get proper statistics,” Brig Al Ghaithi said.