Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
State fire marshal urges Kentuckians to leave fireworks to the professionals
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 26, 2006) - Kentucky State Fire Marshal Rodney Raby today encouraged Kentuckians to enjoy the Fourth of July but to "leave fireworks displays to the professionals" for safety’s sake.
Fireworks are an American summertime tradition, especially around Independence Day. Tragically, so are fireworks injuries. Each year, Kentuckians suffer a painful array of fireworks-related burns, cuts, finger and toe amputations, lost hearing or sight - even the potential loss of life.
The Fire Marshal’s Office and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services want to help keep Fourth of July celebrations safe by offering tips on the right and wrong ways to use fireworks.
"The most at risk for fireworks-related injuries are our children," Raby said at a news conference. "The safest way to enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July is to leave fireworks displays to the professionals."
The Fire Marshal’s Office reported 38 fireworks injury incidents in 2005. The most common were burns, and 63 percent of those injured were 18 years old and younger.
It is illegal in Kentucky to sell or use fireworks that are shot into the air or those labeled "explosive," "emits flaming pellets," "flaming balls," "firecrackers," "report" or "rocket."
Most fireworks injuries in the United States are caused by skyrockets - illegal in Kentucky - and common firecrackers and sparklers.
Kentucky law permits those 16 and older to purchase consumer fireworks Type E (formerly Class C). These legal fireworks include ground and hand-held sparkling devices (dipped stick sparkler, cylindrical and cone fountain, illuminating torch, wheel, ground spinner, flitter sparkly), smoke, novelties and trick noise makers.
But legality does not ensure safety. "Sparklers can burn at very high temperatures in excess of 1,800 degrees," Raby said. "Even after the sparkler has burned out, the wire can remain hot enough to cause severe burns or ignite clothing and other flammable materials."
The Office of State Fire Marshal, an agency of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, administers building codes, inspections of day care centers, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. It issues certificates, licenses and permits covering manufactured housing, boiler inspections, hazardous materials, elevator inspections, electricians and fire protection systems. The office also investigates fire incidents and assists in the apprehension of those responsible for criminal burnings.
FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS
The State Fire Marshal’s Office offers the following safety tips for using fireworks:
· Choose an outside area away from buildings and clear of dry weeds, grass and other vegetation. Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don’t go off.
· Never allow young children to use fireworks without close, sober adult supervision. Sparklers, considered by many the ideal "safe" firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Do not allow any running or horseplay with or near fireworks.
· Never light fireworks while standing in a doorway or leaning out of an open window.
· Do not approach or try to re-light fireworks that have failed to perform. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
· Place all fireworks on the ground before lighting the fuse. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.
· Never allow fireworks to come in contact with articles of clothing or any combustible or flammable liquid. Don’t throw or kick lit fireworks.
· Do not use or supervise the use of fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
· Do not point fireworks at other people.