Safely Celebrate 4th of July

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generic fireworks photo

Photo courtesy Greenbay

Leading up to the Fourth of July and throughout the summer, consumers purchase fireworks to make 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. Two out of every five fires are fireworks-related, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

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 20- July 20, according to 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 2018 permissible fireworks, visit

The Fire Marshal’s Office offers 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.

By Prince William Living


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