Fireworks are dangerous, legal or not
When the sun goes down on July 4, fireworks are sure to come out. In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires and emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks-related injuries – many of them children. Almost 90% of emergency room fireworks injuries are from fireworks that are legal.
The City of Wilmington Fire Department suggests the following tips for fireworks safety:
- The best way to celebrate with fireworks is to visit public displays put on by trained professionals.
- Only adults should handle fireworks.
- Never light fireworks indoors or on dry grass.
- Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
- Supervise children around fireworks at all times.
Even sparklers, which are legal and seem harmless, are dangerous. They can reach a temperature of over 1,200º F (glass melts at 900º F) and can cause third degree burns.
- Never hold a child in your arms while using a sparkler.
- Never hold or light more than one sparkler at a time.
- Sparkler wires stay hot long after the flame has gone out. Place used sparklers in a bucket of water or sand.
- Stand at least 6 feet away from another person while using sparklers.
- Never wave sparklers or run while holding them.
Here’s a list of what’s legal, and what’s not:
Legal: Sparklers, fountains and novelty fireworks items that do not explode, spin or fly through the air.
Not Legal: Firecrackers, ground spinners, roman candles, rockets (including bottle rockets), mortars, etc.
North Carolina law requires the purchaser of any consumer fireworks to be at least 16 years old. Violation of fireworks laws is classified as a misdemeanor, which may be punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to six months, depending upon the level of violation. The fireworks laws cover transport, display, storage, sale, possession and use of fireworks.
Make this a safe and fun holiday!