Chief executive officer of FireOne Fireworks Andre Abraham says members of the public should refrain from purchasing illegal fireworks like “scratch bombs” that enter the country from places like Venezuela.
Abraham, whose company is based at Macoya, told the Express by phone yesterday that fireworks which are imported from China are subject to rigorous testing before being sold to wholesalers.
FireOne Fireworks is the sole agent for fireworks to wholesalers across Trinidad and Tobago.
Abraham said: “There are the legal and illegal fireworks. We built a brand FireOne Fireworks since 1995. Anything that is good or bad with fireworks, our name is called. But there is a distinction between the ones that are imported through the ‘back door’ from Venezuela and our fireworks. We ask people to stay away from the illegal scratch bombs. They are very dangerous for consumers. We feel the brunt of it. We import items which are nice in colours. And at a much less decibel level.”
Abraham added: “We offer over 2,000 varieties of fireworks. Before, scratch bombs were the most highly demanded product. We have sort of destroyed the scratch bomb industry by providing an alternative. We have offered more variety. We have made it more attractive.”
Abraham said the company employs about 200 people. It also adheres to the strictest testing and regulations from the American Fireworks Safety Laboratory the National Fire Prevention Association.
He said: “We have to go to the Ministry of National Security. Then the local industry has to examine all the products. It has to go through fire testing and rigorous testing. The ministry gives us the authorisation to import the fireworks. Then they check through to ensure it is approved before it comes into the country. The police take possession of the fireworks. They stand guard over the containers. We have to have the police involved in transporting it. The police have to inspect the locations. It is a very stringent process before you can actually buy fireworks.”
Again Abraham advised the public to buy from about 15 registered dealers.
On the issue of licences, Abraham said fireworks are never sold to anyone under 18 years of age.
He said: “We don’t sell to anyone under the age of 18. When you come in, you have to sign a declaration saying you are going to be using the fireworks within the laws of T&T.”
He added: “It was also illegal to use fireworks in cities and towns. We encourage our customers to use big, open parks and spaces. We don’t want them to use a product that damages someone else’s home.”
Abraham said they also think about the safety and welfare of pets.
He said: “We try to have a win-win scenario for everybody. We want the people who have fireworks to enjoy it. And we want people who have pets to enjoy it. We don’t want to get the animals scared.”