City Council bill to legalize fountains and sparklers deferred

City Council bill to legalize fountains and sparklers deferred

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu City Council Bill 5, which would legalize fountains and sprinklers alongside firecrackers, was deferred in committee by Public Safety and Economic Development Committee Chair Carol Fukunaga.

Fukunaga decided on such after listening to testimony from Honolulu Fire Department Assistant Chief Socrates Bratakos.

"We have an average of 18 injuries per year, that's over the last three years. The period from 2002-2010 we used to average 73 injuries a year. 73 to 18 is quite a drop" he said.

Bratakos was referencing the difference in fireworks related injuries before and since fountains and sparklers were banned in 2010.

"The community and general populous at large, should not suffer from the foolish actions of the few" said Councilmember Ikaika Anderson, who co-authored the bill with Councilmember Ann Kobayashi.

Bill 5 would require permits for purchasing the devices.

"It is a fair compromise that it requires a permit to allow for the use of both sparklers and fountains in addition to firecrackers as allowable consumer fireworks" added Anderson.

The bill would also allow for a refund to anyone who bought the permit but not any of the items. The HFD opposes that as well, saying that the current $25 price is taken up largely by processing and handling costs. Giving refunds would put the city in a position that it would be operating at a loss.

While the two sides disagreed on the bill itself, both seemed pleased with the outcome, for now.

"The important thing here is that the community is still going to be permitted to have this discussion" said Anderson.

Added Bratakos "the fire department always supports more discussion and more thought going into any public safety ordinance that we have".

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