Officials urge caution in using fireworks
Lighting and watching firework displays is one of the most traditional ways to celebrate the Independence Day holiday. Durham Fire Department officials reminds residents of ways to keep this family fun activity from turning tragic.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-14, and sparkler use accounted for 38 percent of the 8,600 emergency room fireworks injuries in 2010.
“It’s important that we keep in mind how dangerous improperly handling fireworks can be no matter how harmless they may seem,” Durham Fire Marshal Edward Reid said. “If you choose to light fireworks yourself, make sure they are legal in our state. The safest and easiest way to enjoy the bright lights of fireworks is to watch them in a public setting and leave it up to the trained professionals.”
For families who still choose to use fireworks this summer, the Fire Department is advising residents to follow this advice:
• If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
• Always read instructions.
• Light one firework at a time.
• Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
• Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby.
• Know how to properly use the fire extinguisher.
• Never attempt to re-light or “fix” fireworks.
• Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
• Never experiment with homemade fireworks.
• Stand several feet away from fireworks.
• Supervise children around fireworks (including sparklers) at all times.
According to Reid, legal fireworks in North Carolina include poppers, sparklers, fountains and novelty items that don’t explode, spin, leave the ground or fly through the air.
For more information, contact Public Education Coordinator Sierra Mckoy with the Durham Fire Department at 919-560-4233 ext. 19242 or by email at Sierra.Mckoy@DurhamNC.gov.