HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite what Emergency Medical Services called a brutal New Year’s Eve, the Honolulu Police Department had fewer arrests and citations this year compared to last. But, the Honolulu Fire Department warns that the danger of illegal fireworks does not end after the holiday is over.
The scene from the H-1 Freeway on New Year’s Eve was explosive, with aerial fireworks lighting up the sky across the island.
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Despite the impressive display of illegal activity, HPD’s firework statistics showed they had 2,477 complaints this year compared to 3,529 in 2021. Citations also dipped with 16 issued to adults this year compared to 52 the year prior.
They arrested just three adults this year, one less than last year. They even confiscated fewer fireworks, 299 pounds 2022 compared to 320 pounds in 2021.
HFD said they responded to 18 fireworks related incidents, which is on par with previous years.
Most fireworks, including sparklers and roman candles, have been banned in Honolulu for over a decade.
But, the public seems to be ignoring the law.
“I don’t believe the residents who use these aerial fireworks understand how dangerous they can be until something actually happens to them, their family or their friends; and then, they realize the impact,” said Acting Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Mokulehua.
But by then, it is too late.
EMS responded to at least a dozen fireworks injury calls — many caused by explosions leaving people with burns and lacerations.
But, Mokulehua said the threat illegal fireworks pose to the community does not end after the holiday.
“The major concern, aside from the dangers of these fireworks, and using them would be the storage of fireworks… It’s not only dangerous for them and for their neighbors, but it’s very dangerous for first responders should we have to respond to their home in the event of a fire. You can imagine those are explosives.”
Mokulehua said he understands people see it as tradition. But is it really worth the risk? He urges everyone to think of the consequences and leave the aerial displays to the professionals.
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“We are in support of a total statewide ban on all fireworks. We’re going to support the State Fire Council in their efforts every year through legislation,” Mokulehua said.
“Hopefully, next year we’ll see a better, safer New Year’s Eve,” added Mokulehua.