Rutherford County Fire Rescue is offering a host of fireworks safety tips ahead of this weekend’s Fourth of July Celebrations.
“While legal for purchase, RCFR does not recommend the use of consumer fireworks during the Fourth of July weekend and Independence Day celebrations,” said Captain/Asst. Fire Marshal Joshua Sanders. “There are many local professional fireworks displays open to the public,” he added. “We encourage Rutherford County residents to leave it to the professionals and attend one of those events to enjoy the fireworks safely.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 19,500 of the reported fires across the United States are started by the use of consumer fireworks. Burns account for 44 percent of the 9,100 injuries treated in emergency departments around July 4. Half of the fireworks injuries seen at emergency departments in the U.S. were to extremities (hand, finger, or leg). One-third were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children (ages 10-14) had the highest rate of injury, with more than 36 percent of the victims of fireworks injuries under the age of 15.
While commonly seen as the safest consumer firework, sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency department fireworks injuries. Sparklers burn at more than 1,200 degrees!
If you choose to use consumer fireworks, RCFR recommends the following measures:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
- Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Only use fireworks away from people, houses and flammable materials.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Never ignite devices in a container.
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire.
- Never use illegal fireworks.
“Our main goal in sharing this message is keeping the citizens of our great community safe,” said Sanders. “We want you to have an enjoyable time with your families this weekend, but we certainly want you to do it without injury or harm!”