Recreation & Holidays: Fireworks Safety
Fire Marshal Dave Sauerbrey reminds parents to insure the safety of children by closely supervising personal fireworks use, and by using only legal fireworks purchased from approved stands during the fireworks season.
"It's important for parents to be present when fireworks are ignited, and to insure that the materials are lit in an open area away from homes, vehicles and any combustibles," he says.
He adds that parents should teach children to be prepared, safe and responsible:
- Read and follow all warnings
- Light fireworks in a safe area, such as a driveway or other paved surface
- Keep fireworks at least 25 feet away from grassy and vegetated areas
- Never attempt to relight or alter malfunctioning fireworks. After allowing them to stand for several minutes, discard in a pail of water. Keep a hose and bucket of water nearby.
- Light one firework at a time, and move away quickly. Fireworks should never be held or thrown.
- Remain a safe distance away from the devices
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have not fully functioned
- If clothes catch fire, remember to STOP, DROP onto the ground, cover your face, and ROLL over and over until the fire goes out.
Chief Bivins adds that adults consuming alcohol while discharging fireworks are a significant contributor to fireworks mishaps.
In 2002, 231 fireworks-related incidents were reported to the State Fire Marshal. There was no adult supervision in 18 percent of these incidents. In addition, two traumatic amputations were reported. Both were caused by high-powered illegal fireworks such as M-80s. Most injuries were sustained by males ages 6 through 21 and were caused by holding the fireworks in their hand. The types of injuries received were blunt trauma, burns, and amputations.
|Fireworks Injuries by Age and Gender|
|Causes of Fireworks Related Injuries|
|Holding||Altering/ Tampering||Leaning Over||Unsafe Surface||Throwing||Delayed Ignition|
Clark County Fire Marshal's Office conducts thorough inspections and issues permits that authorize retail fireworks stands and any fireworks storage facilities inside the city limits. Display sites (including the barge used to launch the big Fourth of July aerial fireworks) are also carefully inspected for compliance with the Uniform Fire Code and Clark County Code.
By state law, fireworks sales are limited to people age 16 an over. Sellers must require proof of age with a driver's license or photo identification card issued by a school or government. Very young children should not be allowed to use fireworks. Even sparklers, which burn at over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, can be dangerous if used improperly.
Dangerous, prohibited fireworks include re-loadable mortar shells, pop bottle rockets, firecrackers of any type, cherry and aerial bombs and M-80 salutes.
Clark County Fire District 5 is dedicated to promoting and enhancing safety through education and code enforcement.
For more information on fireworks, see these web sites: