Celebrate the 4th of July Safely

Bushes, bark dust, your apartment building – these are just a few things that could go up in flames due to fireworks. Every summer we respond to numerous fires caused by the improper use and handling of fireworks.

According to the statistics from the Washington State Fire Marshal’s office, fireworks, such as bottle rockets and M-80s, were the cause of 699 reported injuries last year. There was no adult supervision in 17 percent of the instances.

Supervision is essential in preventing fireworks-related injuries. Children ages 10 to 14 have the highest risk of injury followed by teenagers ages 15 to 19. Injuries often result from being too close to fireworks when they explode.

The Douglas County Fire Marshal reminds you to be prepared … be safe … and be responsible when dealing with fireworks. Fireworks can be fun if used safely and with caution. The safest way to prevent fireworks-related injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals.

However, for those who can’t resist setting off their own fireworks, adults should purchase only legal fireworks at approved stands, and a designated adult should light all fireworks. Use the following precautions:

  • Familiarize yourself with local fireworks laws.
  • Light all fireworks outside in a clear area away from structures, dry vegetation and flammable materials such as gasoline and lighter fluid.
  • Always keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that do not go off.
  • Be sure people are clear of the area before lighting fireworks.
  • Know the emergency number – 911
  • Teach children the “stop, drop and roll” procedure should their clothes catch on fire.
  • Never try to relight or handle fireworks that won’t light. Wait five minutes, soak the fireworks in water and throw away.
  • Do NOT smoke, use drugs or drink alcohol when handling fireworks.
  • Clean up and properly dispose of all debris when finished.
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