Exciting celebrations and bright light displays are staples of the July 4th holiday. With this in mind, Thomasville Fire Rescue (TFR) reminds the community of the importance of practicing fireworks and grill safety.
“Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.,” said Tim Connell, TFR Chief. “If you are planning to use fireworks, we urge you to exercise caution and to follow state laws and local ordinances.”
Connell says that, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), each year fireworks causes an estimated 10,000 injuries and 19,500 fires annually. “Between June and July 2019, 7,300 firework-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms with sparklers accounting for almost one-quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries, many of these being children,” Connell said. While most of the injuries involved the extremities, 36% of the injuries were to the head. “The percentage of injuries to the head and children under age 15 is alarming.”
Connell advises anyone celebrating the holiday with fireworks to take precautions. TFR recommends the following:
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- In celebration of Independence Day, fireworks are allowed from 10 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on July 3rd and July 4th. Fireworks use after these posted times are subject to citation for noise violation.
- Be considerate of your neighbors, nearby veterans with PTSD, seniors, small children and pets.
- Celebratory gunshots are illegal and dangerous.
(Per OCGA 25-10-2 and Thomasville City Ordinance 11-11)
- Fireworks should only be used outdoors and away from people, houses, and flammable materials.
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks, including sparklers.
- Always have water ready if you are using fireworks.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Wear eye protection whenever using fireworks.
- Never relight a “dud” firework; wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Soak spent fireworks with water before placing them in an outdoor garbage can.
- Never use illegal fireworks. Only purchase fireworks from a licensed dealer.
“TFR is urging the community to practice safety so that your celebrations are not disrupted,” said Connell. “Rather than risking injury to yourself or a loved one, we encourage you to attend the City of Thomasville Independence Day Fireworks Celebration on July 3rd at Remington Park.”
Fireworks are not the only Fourth of July activity that can cause emergencies. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), from 2014-2018, an average of 19,700 patients per year required emergency room visits because of injuries involving grills. “July is the peak month for grill fires. Gas grills were involved in an average of 10,600 home fires per year,” said Connell. These include an average of 3,900 structural and 4,900 outdoor fires annually.
For more information on fire safety, please visit Thomasville.org or call Thomasville Fire Rescue at 229-227-4099.