FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
TNT Fireworks salesman Kyle Harriman-Pare, right, described how various fireworks operate for customers Tomas Paek, left, and Sam Jung yesterday at the store, inside the site of the old Garden House at the corner of Beretania and Piikoi streets.
Fireworks sales steadily rising
It will be the first time in seven years that Justin Hee will spend New Year's Eve in Hawaii. And his dad is making sure it goes off with a loud bang.
Hee, 19, who usually spends New Year's in Las Vegas, where he is a university student, will join his father this year, setting off fireworks on their noisy street in Nuuanu.
"They don't have these types of fireworks there," said Joe Hee, his 53-year-old father, who spent about $200 on fireworks yesterday. "So we wanted to make a huge blast of it."
While this year's fireworks permits are down compared with last year, fireworks sales have been steadily increasing and today is expected to be the busiest with last-minute buyers.
"It was slow at the beginning," said Gwen Hirai, a merchandiser with TNT Fireworks, a wholesale company that sells fireworks at a store on Beretania Street this year. "It's been better each day. We think New Year's Eve is going to be hectic."
"Business has been steady," added Kyle Harriman-Pare, also a merchandiser with TNT Fireworks. "But with fireworks it's an impulse business, and we expect most of our sales (today)."
Hirai said she noticed many customers buying paperless fireworks, which are quieter and create less mess, since they do not require city-issued permits.
The weather should also allow for residents to pop fireworks without being too troublesome for firefighters. Norman Hui, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said it will be partly cloudy with isolated showers and winds ranging from 10 to 15 mph.
"The wind will pick up on New Year's Day, so the smoke shouldn't linger for too long," Hui said. "From a firefighter's perspective, you don't want the winds too strong or else they could spread fires."
"The islands have been kind of wet," Hui added, referring to the scattered showers watering the islands last week. "It could still be dangerous out there, but it may not be as bad if we didn't have any rain at all."
Fire safety tips for fireworks
While the Honolulu Fire Department believes all fireworks should be banned, it offers several safety tips for residents planning to pop fireworks tonight:
» Always read and follow all warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer.
» Use only approved fireworks from a licensed retail outlet that posts its retail permit at its sales site.
» Ensure that other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
» Light fireworks on smooth, flat surfaces away from homes, dry leaves and flammable materials.
» Never set off fireworks in metal or glass containers.
» Make a garden hose or a bucket of water readily available in case of a fire.
» Never give fireworks, even sparklers, to young children. Older children should use fireworks only under the direct supervision of an adult.
Keep power lines in mind when popping
Hawaiian Electric Co. recommends these tips for a safe New Year's Eve:
» Use fireworks in an area clear of overhead power lines.
» Do not string fireworks on utility poles.
» If using a ladder to tie up fireworks, keep a 10-foot clearance from power lines.
» If an object becomes entangled in a power line, call HECO's trouble line at 548-7961.