Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue
Leading up to the Fourth of July, and throughout the summer, consumers purchase fireworks for their personal entertainment making a special holiday even more memorable. Rarely do we consider these pleasing effects as being harmful much less deadly; yet, fireworks are one of the biggest fire dangers to life and property. There are more reported fires on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year in that two out of every five fires are fireworks-related.
Annually, thousands of fireworks-related injuries are treated in hospital emergency departments throughout the U.S.; more than half (67%) of those injuries occur between June 20th – July 20th, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Although Prince William County permits the use of some fireworks, restrictions apply and for good reason. No matter how breathtaking fireworks are or how easy they appear to use, they are potential fire starters. Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee encourages residents to leave fireworks demonstrations to trained professionals; check your local newspaper, website or social media platforms for a list of venues providing professional fireworks displays. However, should you choose to purchase fireworks, Chief McGee recommends purchasing from a fireworks stand that has been inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office. All stands in Prince William County are properly permitted to sell fireworks displayed. To view the list of 2017 permissible fireworks, visit the Fire Marshal’s Office at pwcgov.org/fire, and click on Fireworks.
In an effort to assist residents in preparation for the Fourth of July and additional festivities held throughout the summer, the Fire Marshal’s Office suggests the following safety tips:
- Fireworks should only be used under adult supervision.
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors on a driveway, sidewalk or other fire-resistant surface. Remember, fires are caused by careless handling of fireworks in areas exposed to sparks or live fireworks.
- Never ignite fireworks during high winds where flying sparks can start a fire.
- Keep a bucket of water handy in case sparks start a fire.
- Be sure children around fireworks know to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches on fire.
- Deposit sparklers in a metal container as they may be stepped on while hot or lost in the grass and stepped on while playing.
- Never aim or throw fireworks at another person.
- Never try to re-ignite fireworks that malfunction or fail to go off. Do not wear loose clothing when using fireworks.
- Never experiment or make your own fireworks.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Pets may be frightened by the noise and lights of fireworks; keep pets inside or away from the area when in use.
For additional information on fireworks safety, visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety at fireworkssafety.org.