It’s time again for fireworks. According to the Russellville Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association, each July 4th, thousands of people, often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks.
In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 total structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside and other fires. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage.
In 2013, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 11,400 people for fireworks related injuries.
On Independence Day in a typical year, far more U.S. fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause of fires.
The Russellville Fire Department recommends the following safety tips:
OBEY ALL LAWS
Please obey your local and state laws regarding the sale and use of state approved fireworks. You can contact the Russellville Fire Department regarding ordinances pertaining to the purchase and use of fireworks in your area.
Within the city limits of Russellville, an ordinance allows you to discharge fireworks on July 2, 3, 4 and 5 between 10:00 am and 10:00 pm. Fireworks may be discharged on personal property only. Fireworks may not be discharged on public property nor projectiles allowed to travel onto the property of another individual.
USE COMMON SENSE
Common sense is important when using fireworks. Read all warning labels and follow directions on each firework device and understand the product performance of each item.
Children should not handle, play with, or light fireworks. Adults should handle and light all fireworks to insure their proper use.
HARD, FLAT, & LEVEL
To insure stability of the firework, always light on a hard, flat, and level surface to prevent an item from tipping over. If lighting on grass, use a flat wooden board as a shooting surface.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Use fireworks outdoors in a clear, open area away from buildings and vehicles. Avoid dry grass and brush that could catch fire or near any flammable items. Spectators, especially children, should remain a safe distance away from the shooting area, generally 25-40 feet for fountains and ground based items and 75-100 yards for aerial product. If windy conditions exist, fireworks should be lit with the prevailing wind blowing away from the audience.
Never put your head or any part of your body over a firework. Never look into a tube to inspect a firework. Never hold a lit firework in your hand.
Don't attempt to re-light a "dud." If a firework fails to ignite, let stand for at least 5 minutes, then immerse in water.
WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE
Make sure that you keep a bucket of water, a water hose, and/or a fire extinguisher nearby for emergencies.
HANDLE WITH CARE
Fireworks should not be carried in your pocket. Don't aim or throw fireworks at another person. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
MAN'S BEST FRIEND
Pets and farm animals may be frightened by the noise and lights of fireworks. You may want to keep pets inside or animals moved away during your fireworks show.
Fireworks should be bought only from reliable and licensed dealers. Licensed and reliable dealers only carry products that meet standards set forth by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Do not use illegal explosives, alter any firework devices, or attempt to make your own fireworks.
Richard Setian, Fire Marshal
Russellville Fire Department
203 West Second Street
Russellville, Arkansas 72801