The July 4th holiday means freedom, family, fun and – for many – fireworks. To help our community enjoy the holiday festivities safely, Thomasville Fire Rescue encourages families to follow fireworks safety tips and understand the associated risks.
“Fireworks and fireworks displays can be fun and enjoyable for all ages, but fireworks can be dangerous and destructive if not handled properly,” said Fire Marshal Tim Connell. “According to the National Fire Protection Association, thousands of people are injured each July 4th while using fireworks.”
According to NPA’s Research, Data and Analytics Division, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. In 2015, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,900 people for fireworks related injuries; 51% of those injuries were to the extremities and 41% were to the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for one-quarter (26%) of the estimated 2015 injuries.
“Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks of devastating burns, injuries, fires, and even death,” Connell said. “If you want to shoot off fireworks, make sure you understand how to do so safely.”
Thomasville Fire Rescue encourages everyone celebrating the holiday with fireworks to ‘take 10’ and observe fireworks safety by remembering the following:
- Always check local rules, laws, or codes, pertaining to the use of fireworks in your area.
- Never ignite fireworks while holding them.
- Be sure other people are out of range and warned before lighting fireworks.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not functioned properly.
- Keep a water hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a malfunction.
- Never throw fireworks.
- Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area and on a flat hard surface, away from buildings and vehicles.
- Always read all warnings and instructions.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately if a fire starts or if injury occurs. Remember to stop, drop and roll if exposed to fire.
- Dispose of used fireworks by first soaking them in water.
The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries, according to Connell, is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. “However, if you purchase fireworks, then make sure you celebrate safely and responsibly.”
Parents should also use extreme caution with small children around fireworks. “Keep young children a safe distance from fireworks and do not allow them to possess or come in contact with fireworks at all.”
“Our goal at Thomasville Fire Rescue is to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July,” said Connell. “By following these basic safety tips, everyone can celebrate the holiday safely.”