Morgunbladid is reporting that Landsbjörg, the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, set a new record this year in sales of fireworks for the New Year period. In Iceland it is traditional for individuals and families to buy and set off huge quantities of fireworks in the hours leading up to midnight on New Year’s Eve. It is not uncommon to spend hundreds of dollars on fireworks and about half of people buy theirs through Landsbjörg, where the proceeds go towards Search and Rescue Operations. [link to Benedikt’s Daily Life]. The manager of Landsbjörg, Jón Gunnarsson, told Morgunbladid that sales were up approximately 20% this year.
It is estimated that about ISK 500 million (c. 8.3 million USD, or about $27 per inhabitant) worth of fireworks were sold this year, with Landsbjörg capturing at least half of this amount and the majority of the rest divided among various local sports clubs. Gunnarsson estimates that about 600 tonnes of fireworks were imported into Iceland for the occasion.
The vast majority of the sales income is profit, as volunteers sell the fireworks at Landsbjörg’s existing buildings. After purchase of the fireworks, the only cost to Landsbjörg comes from advertising.