An Important Safety Message from Firefighters
It’s hard to think about celebrating Independence Day without seeing fireworks. As much fun as we have during these festivities, we still need to be mindful of the potential for extremely dangerous situations. For your protection, firefighters with the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services suggest leaving fireworks displays to the professionals. Sparks from fireworks can ignite fires, endangering nearby people and structures.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 2,000 Americans end up in the hospital per week during this time of year due to a firework-related accident. According to a June 2018 report from the same commission, the majority of the injuries were due to misuse or malfunctions of fireworks. Sparklers, a popular hand-held firework, are responsible for almost a quarter of emergency room injuries. Consumer type fireworks can reach temperatures well over 1000-degrees Fahrenheit. To put that in perspective, water boils at 212-degrees and cakes are baked at 350-degrees Fahrenheit. The National Fire Protection Association reports that more than 16,000 reported fires are started by fireworks annually.
These are just some of the reasons why fire officials are urging residents to attend public fireworks displays. Public displays are conducted by licensed, trained and permitted pyrotechnicians. The sites are approved through an application process and inspected by the Fire Marshal’s Office in Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services’ Community Risk Reduction Division.
For those planning to use consumer type fireworks as part of their celebration, the safety tips below will help everyone have a safe and fun Independence Day:
- Purchase fireworks from a licensed and reputable vendor.
- Read the directions carefully, and inspect the device for any defects.
- Keep a bucket of water, garden hose and fire extinguisher close by.
- Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open area away from buildings, vehicles, vegetation or any other combustible material.
- Ignite only one device at a time, and use a “punk-stick” to maintain a safe distance
- Always keep a safe distance between yourself and the fireworks device.
- Remember to allow enough room for the proper functioning of fireworks.
- Always ignite fireworks on a firm, flat surface.
- Never give fireworks to a child, and keep children away from any immediate firework area.
- Never attempt to fix or re-ignite a malfunctioning device. Instead, discard it safely by soaking it in a bucket of water.
- Before going to bed or when leaving the area, remember to inspect the area where fireworks were used.
- Make sure that no smoldering fires, hot embers or sparks are present from falling fireworks debris. Wet the area with a garden hose for added protection.
- Store unused fireworks in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children or pets and away from open flames.
- When discarding fireworks, remember to always soak them in a bucket of water for several hours before placing them in the trash.