Public Protection Cabinet
Let the pros provide your July 4 fireworks
Many Kentuckians enjoy the tradition of viewing fireworks as they celebrate the Independence Day holiday. To help ensure that your holiday celebration is safe, attend a community fireworks show, advises Kentucky State Fire Marshal William Swope Jr.
“Professional fireworks shows are staged by experienced companies that take all the safety precautions,” Swope said. “Plus, a pyrotechnics show is a much more exciting experience than setting off fireworks at home.”
Home fireworks carry substantial risks for little reward, Swope said. In Kentucky, only Class 1.4G (consumer) fireworks are allowed by law. This excludes firecrackers, roman candles, and any other device that explodes or shoots in the air.
Every year throughout the United States, thousands of people end up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries from fireworks. In 2007, hospitals treated nearly 10,000 such injuries. Moreover, 90 percent of the injuries were caused by legal fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Beyond the injury factor, home fireworks cause many fires. Independence Day sees more fires in the United States than any other day of the year, with most fires caused by fireworks, the NFPA reports. In 2005, fireworks caused an estimated 1,800 structure fires and 700 vehicle fires.
For those who choose to use home fireworks, here are some tips:
- Always read and observe label directions.
- Remember to keep water handy.
- Always have an adult present.
- Never re-light a “dud” firework.
- Don’t give fireworks, including sparklers, to small children.
- Stay away from dry vegetation.
Swope’s remarks came during a news conference promoting summer safety. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has established a Web page offering safety tips on a variety of summer activities. The Web address is http://chfs.ky.gov/summersafety08