By Mike Vanzile, Chief of the Auburn Fire Department
Fireworks. They are synonymous with Fourth of July celebrations. Yet, they can also bring injury if they are not used with caution. Think it can’t happen to you? Consider this: There are 9,300 serious injuries in the U.S. each year by fireworks, with 45 percent of them involving children under the age of 14. Hands, fingers, eyes, faces and ears are the most commonly injured body parts. And injury happens with seemingly “harmless” fireworks, such as sparklers and firecrackers.
As you prepare for your upcoming Independence Day celebration, keep in mind these tips about fireworks safety:
- Only purchase and light legal 1.4G consumer fireworks, like fire crackers, roman candles and bottle rockets. (Legal fireworks have a label with the manufacturer’s name and directions; illegal ones are unlabeled.)
- Store fireworks in cool, dry place away from children.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, water bucket or hose nearby.
- Use a clear, open area to set them off and keep audience safe distance from the launching site.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances. The National Fire Protection Association estimates more than 50,000 fires annually are caused by fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
- Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting.
- Never let children handle, play with or light fireworks without adult supervision.
- Never aim, point or throw at another person.
- Don’t allow kids to pick up pieces of fireworks after an event. Some may still be ignited and can explode at any time.
- Never re-light a dud.
- Never try to make your own fireworks.
City ordinances in Auburn specify certain days and times that residents are allowed to use consumer fireworks. For the upcoming holiday, those days include June 29-30 and July 1-3 and 5-9 from 5 p.m. – until two hours after sunset, as well as 10 a.m. – midnight on July 4.