WIESBADEN, Germany – New Year’s Eve 2022 is right around the corner and if you have spent longer than a year in Germany you know what a mesmerizing night it can be. Full of chaos and brightly colored streams of fire streaking across the skies, New Year celebrations in Germany gives a different meaning to the phrase “the rocket’s red glare.”
Fireworks are an expression of celebration that have been holiday traditions used to celebrate the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve for generations. Professional fireworks displays are often joyous happy showcases that draw millions to their spectacular demonstrations of light and color.
However, firework celebrations such as those that mark our independence or that ring in the New Year can also bring heightened anxiety for many people and pets, and an increased potential for PTSD triggering events or injury.
Individuals that live on U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden should be aware that the use of personal fireworks is not allowed.
“For those that reside in U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden military family housing communities, the use of fireworks on base, of any kind, is prohibited by AE regulation (Army in Europe and Africa) 600-1, paragraph 28,” said Assistant Fire Chief for Prevention Karin Morrell.
If you reside off post, and before spending a month’s paycheck, on your New Year’s Eve celebration, it is recommended to check with your local German community and state regulations on the use of fireworks.
In Germany, “when can I shoot the first firecrackers?” is a frequently asked question every year. According to the German legal statute § 23 1. SprengV - Einzelnorm (gesetze-im-internet.de), “The use of fireworks is permitted from December 31 to January 1.”
Fireworks displays after January 1 are regulated and requires special permits.
The sale of fireworks is also regulated with most sales being restricted to between December 28 and 31. Some smaller fireworks, such as sparklers, can be purchased year round; it is recommended to check the local regulations of the German community or state in which you live.
Safety considerations when handling fireworks.
• Understand and follow the posted instructions on any firework/device before use.
• Have a fire extinguisher or close water source (bucket of water or hose) to put out any fires.
• Keep away from kids.
• Maintain adult supervision.
• Designate one adult to shoot the fireworks.
• Stay away from any alcoholic beverages while using fireworks.
• Do not allow any body part over the firework device when being lit.
• Use eye protection.
• Use outdoors only.
• Do not throw or point a firework device at another person.
• Do not handle or try to relight duds. Wait 20-30 minutes, soak the duds in water and then properly dispose of them.
When used with common sense and following safe use procedures, fireworks can be a fun way to ring in the New Year. Taking into consideration that others may not have a shared affinity for fireworks, and understanding the dangers they pose when used improperly, can make for a more enjoyable experience for all.
Understanding rules and regulations for the safe use of fireworks within your local German community will ensure that neither you nor your loved ones become one of the first 2023 fireworks statistic.
For more information visit the U.S. Army Safety Center: Fireworks Safety
If you are feeling anxiety or stress about New Year’s Eve celebrations visit the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Mental Health resources page.