Cops to be equipped with earplugs as gov't won't ban New Year's fireworks

The 21 thousand cops who have to work this New Year's will be equipped with earplugs to protect their hearing against firecrackers and other fireworks. As the government is refusing to respond to the plea of the police, dozens of other civil society organizations, doctors and many municipalities to ban firecrackers over New Year's, the National Police will take other measures, chief Erik Akerboom said, reports.

National Police chief Akerboom said that he is "forced to do something for the safety" of his people "on the front line". The purchase of "advanced hearing protection sets" is a first step. Officers can also use the earplugs at other events.

New Year's is considered the most dangerous time of the year in the Netherlands. The tradition of lighting fireworks leads to millions of euros in damage and hundreds of injuries each year. On average, New Year's fireworks lead to one death per year, according to Police officers and other first responders are also regularly pelted with fireworks during the New Year's celebrations. 

The Dutch Safety Board previously called on the government to ban firecrackers and rockets, as these cause the most damage and injuries each year. The government decided not to follow this advice, saying that a nationwide ban goes too far. Instead the government wants fireworks sellers to provide a stabilization mechanism for rockets, as well as information about the dangers of fireworks.