Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue
Although the first holiday of the summer has come and gone, we are just getting started anticipating all the wonderful festivities yet to happen; part of that excitement is fireworks. Who doesn’t like a good fireworks show? The bursts of colors and light filling the sky are breathtaking, yet many don’t think about the dangers associated with fireworks that can result in injury, death and destruction of property.
Annually, healthcare practitioners and public safety officials warn consumers about the dangers of fireworks, legal and illegal; they emphasize the best and safe way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional fireworks show, yet, each year, thousands of fireworks-related injuries occur. In 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a study on fireworks-related injuries from June 20th through July 20th, their study showed:
- On average, 230 people went to the emergency room in the month each day around the July 4th holiday;
- 67% of these fireworks injuries occurred during the month surrounding July 4th;
- Nine people died due to eight fireworks-related incidents, in two of the incidents, the victims were not the users.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, 47 states plus the District of Columbia allow some or all types of consumer fireworks while Delaware, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have banned all consumer fireworks. Should you choose to purchase fireworks, Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue recommends purchasing from an authorized fireworks stand that has been inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office.
June is Fireworks Safety Month, June 1 – July 4. Prince William County Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee, in conjunction with the Fire Marshal’s Office, would like to help you prepare and celebrate Fourth of July safely by suggesting 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 there 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.
These are just a few tips to keep you, your loved ones and your property safe when fireworks are in use. Although the County permits the use of some fireworks, restrictions are applied for good reason. (To view the list of 2016 permissible fireworks and locations of authorized fireworks stands, visit the Fire Marshal’s Office website at pwcgov.org/fire, and click on Fireworks.) Remember, no matter how breathtaking fireworks are or how easy to use they appear to be, they are potential fire starters. The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries and property damage is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. Check your local listings for venues providing professional fireworks displays.